Record your sightings of wildlife and birds on this board - even better if you managed to capture a photo.
Warning Please avoid giving out the locations of nest sites for rare birds.

Is this a Golden Eagle?

Is this a Golden Eagle?

Postby JLamont86 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:36 pm

Hi guys,

Took a drive up to Fortingall yesterday with the Mrs. While we're looking at the Yew tree I heard a number of birds calling. Looked up and saw what I thought was initially a buzzard, then another, then another, until I counted 7 different birds.

They seemed to be in a commotion over something and were almost "mobbing" another bird like you see crows do with buzzards.

I took some photo's and on closer inspection it looked to my untrained eye like a golden eagle, but I'd be interested to see peoples thoughts on if its an eagle or not??
Posts: 8
Joined: Feb 20, 2012

Re: Is this a Golden Eagle?

Postby jmarkb » Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:48 pm

It's really hard to tell from the photo, but the low-level location, the number of birds together and them making noise all tend to suggest buzzards, rather than eagles. Or do you think the bird they were mobbing was an eagle? If so it would have looked significantly bigger.
Posts: 3424
Munros:238   Corbetts:83
Grahams:74   Donalds:27
Sub 2000:39   
Joined: Oct 28, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Is this a Golden Eagle?

Postby David-Main » Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:08 pm

Hard to tell from your shot but i would say 90% buzzards... have a look at my pics there is one of an eagle getting mobbed by a raven and a buzzard.
Too much white on their bellies.
User avatar
Posts: 373
Munros:185   Corbetts:33
Grahams:11   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:18   
Joined: Mar 29, 2012
Location: Elgin Moray

Re: Is this a Golden Eagle?

Postby electricfly » Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:24 pm

Yeah those two are Buzzards. The trees in your photo add to this conclusion, they are more suited to Buzzard habitat. The noise also would indicate that the group were Buzzards.

Golden Eagles much prefer open rugged hillside to the forested areas where Buzzards thrive.

Visually it is fairly easy to tell the difference between Buzzard and Golden Eagle. The key factor is to examine the splay of the birds tail. A Buzzard has what resembles a fanned out tail which is usually very curved at its end, whereas a Golden Eagle has a tail with a much less fanned appearance and it's end only appears slightly curved. Not forgetting the size, Golden Eagles are HUGE.

See this much straighter tail end on the Golden Eagle I clicked here on the Ben Alder Estate.


Hope this helps. :)
User avatar
Posts: 1657
Munros:282   Corbetts:29
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:5
Joined: Mar 19, 2012

Re: Is this a Golden Eagle?

Postby past my sell by date » Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:22 pm

I also think that you see the individual primaries on eagles (as in the photo above) much more often than on buzzards
past my sell by date
Posts: 527
Munros:282   Corbetts:82
Grahams:27   Donalds:6
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:146
Joined: Apr 24, 2013

Re: Is this a Golden Eagle?

Postby Rainbowstrand » Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:14 pm

Here's a shot of a buzzard which might help you to see differences. This shot was taken in Devon woodland.
Mountain Walker
Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 22, 2017

Re: Is this a Golden Eagle?

Postby jay d » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:00 pm

definitely buzzard ,easily told apart from golden eagles by the much smaller head and flight pattern(flap and glide). Usually the mew is heard before they come into sight
jay d
Munro compleatist
Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 22, 2017

Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?

Return to Wildlife sightings

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests