Mystery bird of prey?

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Re: Mystery bird of prey?

Postby TheBirderman » Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:04 pm

Could be anything. Maybe a funny-looking kestrel, since they are a regular vagrant? Perhaps an immature? A Northern Goshawk?

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Re: Mystery bird of prey?

Postby SomesBirder » Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:09 pm

I second Davidthomas' opinion. That, or it's an old and strangely-coloured harrier. We all know how unusual they can look compared to younger specimens.
This reminds me of that bad photo that someone took of a juvenile black-backed gull that engendered similar wild speculation; probably two or three years ago now.

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Re: Mystery bird of prey?

Postby Tim Barnard » Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:31 pm

It’s a difficult photo to unpick. I do struggle with sub-tropical or tropical forest raptors turning up in NZ, and even if they did would they be seen in open country. Unless better photos turn up it’s one to file away as unexplained or as a photographic artefact. Have played with it being an escape but even there the photo is too poor to offer an opinion ...
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Re: Mystery bird of prey?

Postby tim » Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:50 pm

Its a hawk, the contrast of light is playing on the colours with the dark back on light chest feathers.
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Re: Mystery bird of prey?

Postby bombaydave2 » Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:38 pm

I actually think it looks petrel like but not sure what NZ petrel has this colouration. Close to coast/ sea and if that is a standard fence post it is not a large bird. Difficult as the head shot would be the giveaway but too blurred and head angle not helpful
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Re: Mystery bird of prey?

Postby andrewcrossland » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:06 pm

It would be super useful for someone in the area to locate the exact spot and photograph something stuck on the post to accurately gauge size. It might just turn out to be a kingfisher facing away from the camera?
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Re: Mystery bird of prey?

Postby RussCannings » Tue Jul 23, 2019 8:00 am

What a great variety of hypotheses! When I first looked at it, I saw it as a raptor in side profile (looking straight ahead, or to the right from the camera's perspective). I perceived a grey back and hood that contrasted with blackish wings and mask. To me that could only make it a raptor of some sort. Reconsidering, one could also suppose what I saw as a grey back/nape is part of the background and this bird actually has a skinny neck (like an old world vulture or maybe cormorant) and a funny looking black face looking almost straight at the camera. Even so, I can't see how this could be a cormorant structurally (eg primary projection), plumage-wise (no black trousers) or due to its posture. Petrels and skuas/jaegers would also hold their bodies more horizontally no?

I briefly toyed with the idea of a frigatebird (eg immature female Magnificent) however the white underparts seem too extensive and the wings/tail aren't quite right.

Big fan of occams razor (maybe it's just a weird X) but also love these wild guessing games nonetheless!

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Re: Mystery bird of prey?

Postby Jan » Tue Jul 23, 2019 8:35 am

It seems to have flat feet set on the surface of the fencepost, not gripping the edge like a hawk? I would go with a seabird or waterbird of some sort and it has a flat head shape too, which might be shaggy.
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Re: Mystery bird of prey?

Postby Ian McLean » Tue Jul 23, 2019 10:17 pm

Whilst you cannot see the bird's bill & its legs appear too short, what about a Straw Necked Ibis ? Just a possibility !
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Re: Mystery bird of prey?

Postby RussCannings » Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:41 am

Just remember, if this is a waterbird of some sort (cormorant, gull, petrel, ibis, etc), why would it be perched on a post in rural farm country? I know weirder things have happened, but remember the observer is believed to have passable knowledge of local birds (at least the difference between a shag, gull, and hawk surely?).

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