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What is it? Wedge-tailed eagle? Kite?

Wedge-tailed eagle

This photograph was taken down by the road this morning. Driving towards our gate I noticed a large bird circling slowly on, presumably, a thermal updraft. At least I always have a camera with me in the vehicle these days – but by the time I got out of the vehicle and took the camera out of my bag, the eagle had drifted several hundred metres away.

This image is a 100% crop from the full frame – hence the lack of detail and the small size.

It does, nevertheless, record the one time in ten when I’ve seen this animal and have managed to get the camera onto it before it disappears. It’s only a few months since, when jogging down our track with the dogs one morning, I surprised the eagle feasting on a rabbit. It would have only been about 10 metres from me – and I didn’t have a camera in my pocket!


  1. Tim Giles says:

    Looking at the photo I am unsure whether it is, in fact, a wedgie.
    The tail does not seem to have that distinctive diamond shape.
    I, too, have the same problem here in Queensland, the Eagle always drifts away as you get the camera gear out!

  2. gordon says:

    Indeed. I think I should give up trying to identify creatures that I don’t recognise – in this case I’ve always assumed that the tail was wedge shaped (if you look at it from rear to front).

    The issue becomes one of “what is it?” It was large – say a 2m wingstpan. The one I disturbed on the ground would have been getting on for a metre long. All measurements are approximate – it all happened very quickly. I can’t think of anything else that big.

    • Joy says:

      Looks like a Whistling Kite – definitely not a wedge tail but also a large and beautiful bird. Wedge tails have a very distinctive point to the tail and a different under wing pattern of feathering. Birds seem to know just how to disappear as soon as you turn a camera on them 🙂

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