In October 2015 I shared some photos with you of a Black-breasted Buzzard drinking and bathing on a hot day. One of the distinguishing features of Black-breasted Buzzards are the pale wing panels in flight. Quite often the wing panels almost appear white and the wings are upturned in flight. The outer feathers are very open as you can see in the above photo. The tail is much shorter and not wedged like the Wedge-tailed Eagle. It is a lot larger than the local Brahminy Kites, Whistling Kites and Black Kites.

When the Black-breasted Buzzards fly overhead the wing panels really do stand out. We observe them close to Broome on a regular basis and occasionally in town. They generally prefer the inland areas, but sometimes wander to the coast.

Black-breasted Buzzard in flight

As our local ephemeral lakes continue to dry out the Black-breasted Buzzards are often found at this time of year coming in to drink and bathe. They also like to spread their wings out wide on the ground. It is believed it is a way of removing any parasites. Recently we have encountered four Black-breasted Buzzards all together at one location. They all arrived at the water to drink and spread their wings out.

Black-breasted Buzzard with wings spread out

The Black-breasted Buzzards would have a good scratch after lying flat on the ground for some time. This would indicate that it is likely that they were trying to remove any parasites from their feathers.

Scratching Black-breasted Buzzard

Each Black-breasted Buzzard also stood with its wings spread out clearly showing the pale panels.

Black-breasted Buzzard with spread wings

It was interesting to watch the interaction between the four Black-breasted Buzzards. They all came together in one area close to the water and wandered around on the grass. They may well have all been from the same family.

Black-breasted Buzzard interaction

Black-breasted Buzzards are a lot more distinct in flight with their wing panel pattern than on the ground, unless of course they spread their wings!

Written by Clare M
Clare and her husband, Grant, have lived permanently in Broome, Western Australia since 1999 after living in various outback locations around Western Australia and Darwin. She has lived in the Middle East and the United States and traveled extensively in Europe. She monitors Pied Oystercatchers breeding along a 23km stretch of Broome's coastline by bicycle and on foot. She chooses not to participate in social media, but rather wander off into the bush for peace and tranquility. Thankfully she can write posts in advance and get away from technology!