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Elanus caeruleus

Elanus caeruleus
Photo Information
Copyright: Annick Vanderschelden (vanderschelden) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2553 W: 74 N: 7464] (30441)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-12-14
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Canon 400mm 2.8 IS
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/6400 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Namibia, a photographer's dream
Theme(s): vanderschelden's birds, Birds of Namibia, Etosha National Park [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-01-31 2:59
Viewed: 5173
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 34
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
update: guess the identification is completely wrong. My reference was the "Road map and photo gallery of Etosha" where the Pygmy falcon is listed and not the Black-winged Kite. This is definitely the Black winged kite(Elanus caeruleus).

This photo is captured at 10:00 in Etosha National Park, Namibia.

this is wrong...
I think this is an adult male African Pygme-falcon. More specifically the subspecies Polihierax semitorquatus semitorquatus
(update: could be a female as the back could be interpreted as chestnut-like?)

From wikipedia


It is a species primarily of open land and semi-deserts in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical Asia, but it has a foothold in Europe in Spain and Portugal. It nests in trees.

It takes live prey such as small mammals, birds and insects. The slow hunting flight is like a harrier, but it will hover like a Kestrel.


This bird is unmistakable. It has a white head with a black "mask", and white underparts except for black tips to its narrow falcon-like wings. Upperparts are blue-grey except for black shoulder patches.

The tail is short and square, quite unlike the more familiar Milvus kites.

Morigann, pekkavalo1, Alex99, robindb, horia, NinaM, red45, eng55, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To cuckooroller: Hello Steve,vanderschelden 5 02-01 07:53
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Annick,
wonderful capture with a superb african falcon.
Very fine details on the beautiful bird, with a nice composition.
Have a nice week end

Hi Annick,
Excellent picture of African Pygmy-falcon with nice POV and composition, sharp fine details, perfect shallow DOF, eye contact, beautiful colours.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2009-01-31 3:58]

Hello Annick,
This is a beautiful bird-of-prey! I love the dark eyes and the beautiful plumage! Excellent capture with the bird sharply in focus. Lovely colours and well composed.
TFS and cheers, Ulla

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2009-01-31 4:22]

Hi Annick.
How well this beauty poses for you (and for us)/ Amazing eye-contact and sweet pose. Pictured scene is awesome at whole. Brilliantly detailed and nicely colored tree branches and fine blue sky create a wonderful surroundings for the main character. Exposure, sharpness and details of the bird are ultimate too. Thanks for the beauty and all the best.

Hi Annick,

Good capture showing the feather texture of a fairly rarely seen bird. It's nice taking a photo of something against that lovely blue sky it just seems to jump out at the viewer.


  • Alutka Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 131 W: 43 N: 400] (1682)
  • [2009-01-31 5:22]

Hi Annick,
the very good, as usually, picture... Good DOF, POV and composition.
Thank you for sharing

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2009-01-31 7:02]

Hi Annick

Another really impressive capture from you, my friend!
This African Pygme-falcon is a rarity here on TN and you've managed to take a really beautiful, full-frontal shot of one. The eye-contact is dazzling and the details of your shot are also terrific.
Further more, i simply love all the vibrant colors everywhere - tree, leaves, sky etc - that all make the bird stand out even better.
Perfectly exposed and very well composed, too.


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-01-31 8:05]

Hallo Annick,
Erg mooie foto van deze Afrikaans Dwergvalk. Vooral de blik recht in de camera is indrukwekkend. De kwaliteit van deze foto is net als altijd super. De helderheid in kleuren is prachtig. Uitstekende scherpte en compositie. Ik heb de neiging om heel snel een verdere uitsnede te maken, maar vaak gaat dit ten koste van de kwaliteit. Zoals deze kan ook gewoon.

  • Great 
  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2009-01-31 8:32]

A beautiful bird, Annick, you are filled with fantastic pictures! The composition is beautiful, I love the bird, bigger than the branches, up in the frame, yet in balance with the rest of the elements in the frame. Perfect!


  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2009-01-31 10:48]

Hi Annick!

Perfect portrait of this predator! Sky is so blue, acacia [I think] looks also good, but this bird is for sure brightest star on your picture. Detailed, in good pose and with perfect eye contact.

HI Annick,
Beautiful shot of this falcon which is set against blue sky. The composition catches ones eye easily. TFS this beautiful and technically challenging shot.

Hi Annick,

Sorry. Wrong ID. White upper tail, primary extension along the rectrices, incipient black scapulars, bill too strong, much too much white on the auriculars. All these eliminate Polihierax.

This is Elanus caeruleus. The greyish wash to the crown and forehead, coupled with the juvenile brownness of the coverts feathers depone for a bird in transition, not juvenile, however not fully adult.

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2009-01-31 11:44]

Hi Annick,
Wonderful capture against the blue sky.Eye contact,details and composition are perfect.
Thanks for posting.

hello Annick

excellent photography of the Black winged kite,
shot with fine POV and framing, excellent contrast,
great sharpness and details and a beautiful eye-contact, TFS


Hello Annick,
A fine capture of this Pygmy Falcon,nicely composed and with good exposure control.
Interesting note and a good record of the species for TN.
Well done.

Hello Annick,
WOW! Great capture, those eyes are incredible. So big!!, excelletn compositiion and pov, good sharpness and lovely colors.

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2009-02-01 6:13]

Annick, This is a superb capture and what a shot. Clear shot and clarity shot. Ganesh

  • Great 
  • eliz Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 167 W: 20 N: 271] (1537)
  • [2009-02-02 3:29]

very nice bird pose. they eyes looks very strange

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