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A Golden Eagle would look considerably larger than this, with much longer wings and less of a stocky appearance. When you look at the size of this bird's head and neck, the rest of the body does not look that large and, even given the angle, the wings don't look very long compared to their width. A Golden Eagle is one of those birds where you really know when you see one! 128 cm compared to 190cm is a big difference between a large Buzzard and a small Golden Eagle....two foot difference in wing span is considerable.
My Flickr photos...
There are quite a few differences between buzzards and golden eagles if you were wondering for future reference.Buzzards have an average wingspan of 1.25m while Golden Eagles are a larger 2.5m. Buzzards have paler plumage on the underside of the wings in general forming a pale band on the upper secondaries although this can variy, the Golden Eagle is much darker in general. The Buzzard also generally has paler plumage on the upper breast unlike the Golden Eagle again much darker. The Buzzard is also known to call in flight especially while riding thermals when there are more that two individuals, making a 'mewing' sound, Golden Eagles don't generally do this. Identifying raptors can be tricky many species are very similar! For Buzzards and Golden Eagles the main difference is the size.
Shape of wings is another useful clue: Golden Eagle tending to rather square-ended wings rather than the more rounded Buzzard. Also, especially if you have close views like this, an eagle's bill is massive, instead of the somewhat stubby and delicate one of a Buzzard.
Flickr pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/72243477@N00/
Many thanks for everyone's comments. The size variation is difficult when you can't compare the two together of course but it's interesting to hear about other ways to tell the difference.
We have been up in the Outer Hebrides and now the mainland of Scotland for six weeks and are beginning to wonder whether we will ever see a Golden Eagle.
Thank you again - I'm sure I'll be back with another photo of another raptor before we go home and there's still time to find that elusive bird!
They're well worth it when you do see one!
I'd be more inclined to call the passerine in the first pic a Chaffinch given the obvious white lesser coverts bar and I think I detect a slight orange tinge on the chest
To my shame I didn't even look at that photo!
Best of luck seeing your Golden Eagle I know the feeling! :-)
Lat/Lng: 57.492, -6.415
OS grid ref: NG355532