Birder's Eye View

Friday, February 20, 2009

Kestrel or Sharp-shinned?

A few days ago, I posted my GBBC report and some photos of some of the birds I saw. One of these was the above picture, which I had originally claimed to be an American Kestrel, based on its size, flying pattern, habitat, etc. However, an anonymous person posted that it looked to be a Sharp-shinned Hawk, not a kestrel.

I have never seen a sharp-shinned before, and after doing some research, it does seem possible that this is what I saw.

But what do you think? Here are the two other photos I have of this bird.

Post what you think! Whenever I see a hard-to-identify bird, I have a tendency to ID it as a species I already know; but if this is really a Sharp-shinned, it would be a lifer for me.

Well, until next time,

Happy birding!


  • Looks like you got yourself a sharp shinned hawk:

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At February 20, 2009 at 12:55 PM  

  • Most of the details of the plumage rule out American Kestrel (e.g., lack of markings on the face). However, everything points towards an Accipiter, which in Florida would mean either Cooper's or Sharp-shinned. Due to the horizontal barring on the underside, this bird is an adult (unlike the bird in the link above).

    Cooper's vs. Sharp-shinned can be a tricky ID, but here it seems relatively straightforward. The pulled-forward wings, square-ish tail with very little white at the tips all point to Sharp-shinned Hawk.

    I hope I made this fairly clear; raptors (especially accipiters) can be tricky to ID!

    By Blogger John G, At February 20, 2009 at 1:53 PM  

  • Oh yeah, and congratulations on your lifer!

    By Blogger John G, At February 20, 2009 at 1:54 PM  

  • Looks like I stand corrected! Based on the picture and information, it seems really obvious now. :-) Thanks for the help, everyone!

    Happy birding!

    By Blogger Andrea, At February 20, 2009 at 3:57 PM  

  • I made the original post about the bird...glad to see you ended up with a lifer out of it.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At February 21, 2009 at 10:55 AM  

  • Hmm, John's right again. Unfortunately....... lol :D
    Couldn't resist. ;)

    But yea, John couldn't have said it better. That's a Sharpie. Congrats on your lifer Andrea!

    By Blogger Chris W, At February 23, 2009 at 11:09 AM  

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