Montagu's vs Pallid Harrier female

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Montagu's vs Pallid Harrier female

Postby Doug » Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:58 am

HI all.

I did some reading to make sure of my ID of the female harrier and most of the books talk about facial pattern differences.
Yes that helps but there is an even better feature. Barring on the secondaries on the upper wing in Montagu's female (unbarred in Pallid).

I have checked and in the folded wing the barring on the secondaries vs plain secondaries is also visible.

It is drawn correctly in the books but none of the books point to this obvious and easy feature for separating the two harriers.

There you go.... BUT it only works on adults. I have not looked at youngsters yet so as they say... correct aging but then youngster look a little different to the adult females so as long as it has a good clean typical adult female plumage then the feature should be reliable. Just beware of plumages that are a broken mix of young and old. The feature will probably not work then?


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Re: Montagu's vs Pallid Harrier female

Postby Doug » Tue Dec 01, 2009 6:41 am

Pallid Harrier female (Note the unbarred secondaries - largish wing panel sticking out from the wing coverts)
http://www.pbase.com/andrew57/image/109797530

Montagu's Harrier female (Note the obvious barring on the secondaries on the upperwing - barring on trailing edge of middle of the female with her wings spread)
http://www.birdforum.net/opus/Montagu's_Harrier

Hope that helps you all (Although don't forget western Marsh Harrier but that has a MUCH plainer unmarked underwing compared to the other two)

Does anyone have photos of these two females they would like to donate that we can do a nice little ID guide highlighting the features?
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Re: Montagu's vs Pallid Harrier female

Postby wildtuinman » Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:31 am

More tips here, albeit some are very confusing and high tech! :lol:

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Re: Montagu's vs Pallid Harrier female

Postby wildtuinman » Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:35 am

Can you make anything from this, Doug?

Image

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Re: Montagu's vs Pallid Harrier female

Postby Doug » Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:40 pm

Do you have other photos to help asses the age of the bird?
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Re: Montagu's vs Pallid Harrier female

Postby wildtuinman » Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:33 pm

Doug, not great pictures at all, but here are two more.

Image

Image

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Re: Montagu's vs Pallid Harrier female

Postby Doug » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:41 pm

Very difficult to say for certain as nice detail is just not there. The angle of both shots makes it hard to see wing features brilliantly but if I had to say there looks like there is some barring on the secondaries on the upperwing which wold indicate Montagus but only if the bird is an adult female. Streaking looks more concentrated towards the chest which would indicate Pallid.

This might be one of those ones that, without super close up shots and maybe some more descriptions of plumage it may well have to go down as one of those ones that "defy identification" as the zest article puts it.

Tough one from those angles.
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Re: Montagu's vs Pallid Harrier female

Postby wildtuinman » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:30 am

Doug, the SASOL guides points to the number of dark bars on the upper tail of these birds. What do you make of that?

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Re: Montagu's vs Pallid Harrier female

Postby Doug » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:36 am

I will have to recheck Raptors of the world but there is no mention of it there so I am not sure on that as a feature.
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