Now for the buzzards, a group I find particularly confusing - hopefully painting them will help provide some elucidation! Long-legged Buzzards breed in a few areas in eastern Europe e.g. Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey, and are also found in parts of the Middle East, extending further east across Asia. In the more northerly parts of their range they are migratory, and further south populations are resident. They are large, eagle-like buzzards, closest in size to Rough-legged Buzzard. Like most of the buzzards, its plumage can be highly variable,with three colour morphs - pale, rufous and dark. They all have a thick black trailing edge to their wings and large black carpal patches which contrast with bright white bases to the primaries. The pale and rufous morphs have a plain pale rufous tail, and the dark morph has a finely barred tail with thick black edge. Apart from the pale, finely barred tail and flight feathers, the rest of the dark morph is very dark brown. Pale morphs have a pale head and get progressively darker towards the feet, I think the photo is probably of one although I think there can also be a lot of overlap between pale and rufous morphs! Rufous morphs sometimes have this pattern, or sometimes they have a brown head too. Juveniles are generally very pale below with a finely barred tail, and usually some degree of dark carpal patches. Long-legged Buzzards' preferred habitat is open areas with some vegetation such as steppe, semi-desert and also mountains.
Quite pleased with this one! It'll be my last painting for a couple of days as I'm off up to York tomorrow to celebrate my Dad's 60th birthday and retirement :o) I'm going to try looking for the Two-barred Crossbills at Broomhead Reservoir on the way, fingers cross(bill)ed!