How can I identify birds when they're flying

When I identify birds I only identify birds that are sitting. But I cannot identify birds while flying in most of the cases, and I almost get puzzled if I am identifying kites because all kites fly in the same manner.
What are the certain characteristics keep in mind while identifying birds while flying

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Not a birder but I think one can use the general morphology and flight pattern behaviour to take a guess. This will probably allow you identify, say, a swallow vs an eagle, but probably not between two species of swallow.

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This depends a lot on the flavors of birds you have in your area. The high contrast you often get with birds soaring often makes color or markings difficult or impossible to tell, and size can be notoriously difficult to estimate if birds are soaring high, so shape and behavior become much more useful criteria. For behavior/movement, I’m looking at circling vs. direct flight, flapping style (deep or shallow wingbeats, sporadic or continuous), and stooping, hawking, or other hunting behaviors. For shape, consider ratios of tail length to wing length, as well as general wing shape (broad, pointed, etc). Hope that gives some pointers, a lot of times it just takes the hours in the field to get accustomed to how all of those factors come together for identifying each species. For instance, Turkey Vultures tend to hold their wings slightly upward, and have a bit of a “wobble” sometimes when soaring where they appear a bit unstable, that can often give a easy feel fro what species it is.

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Flight pattern - woodpeckers bounce and glide, flycatchers and kestrels hover, etc

Calling in flight - finches and larks do this a lot

General size and shape - is it the size of a sparrow, robin, dove (tail shape is important for mourning vs white-winged in my area), crow, heron, owl

Finally, what’s in the area? Are you driving along a country road in TX - expect to see loggerhead shrikes, scissor-tailed flycatchers, lark sparrows, western kingbirds, eastern bluebirds, and mourning doves.

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You should take a look at books like “Hawks at a Distance - Identification of Migrants Raptors” by Jerry Liguori or “Hawks in Flight - The Flight Identification of North American Migrant Raptors” by Peter Dunne, Davis Sibley, Clay Sutton.

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When you identify a bird sitting, watch it a while and follow it when it flies off. Does it fly fast and directly? Does it flap, glide, flap? Swoop? Soar? Also note any interesting patterns – a white rump, maybe, or white on the wings or tail. Gradually you’ll get to know some.

Some field guides to birds have good suggestions, too. You can pick up an old Peterson guide cheaply; read descriptions of birds in your area, to learn what to think about as the bird flies. Take seriously @rolosama 's advice about books on hawks.

Learning birds in flight is a slow process but satisfying.

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You can check this guide to just see what things are used in identification, but what you actually need is a lot of reading and looking at birds. https://disk.yandex.ru/i/yzW6niqe9-O9VA

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The above few things you need to remember that is the parts of the bird.
Why parts of the bird is important ?
That a lot very important because it will be 50 % easier for you to identify. Many birds will have various beaks for example Sunbirds and Kites
Then if possible check it claws/talons. Then check for the colour of the wings (quite important to identify birds even in their flight. All this sums up to 75%.
The other 25% should be knowing the chirps of each bird that you see around you.
Just imagine,if a Kite is flying above you. If the Kite is flying at a altitude tat feels closer to you then start identifying the parts of the Kite,start questioning yourself by looking at each and every part of the Kite. If the kite is flying too high then best is to take out your camera and take multiple picture while its flying,by doing this you can understand the flight pattern of the birds that you see around,then study in detail about every part of the kite.
I use this technique all the time if I see a bird that I have never seen before and this helps me a lot in their study

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Thanks a lot @karthikeyaeco for your advice I will surely follow your advice

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:+1:
All the best for your upcoming bird observations

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Thank a lot @robotpie , @egordon88 , @sedgequeen , @melodi_96 , @neotomastolemykeys , @karthikeyaeco , @rolosama

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I will add that some of the better field guides will include flight identification of at least the larger birds. Peterson series is good for this: besides the regular figures of ducks and raptors, there are additional pages showing what these look like flying.

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I find this site: birds-in-flight.net very helpful. But it’s work in progress, so not every region in the world is covered.

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this site will help,its quite informative
Thanks for sharing :+1:
also welcome to the forum :smiley:

Most answers are about traits characteistic of flight, like position of wings, silhouette, flapping etc. For me (not so much experienced identifier, let’s say medium level ;) ) identifying on the basis of such traits is often very difficult. But bird in flight still has its plumage, and some parts of it can be even better visible than when perched (eg patterns on wing). Is it difficult for you to see them because bird is moving? For me, good idea is taking photos. You often can see more on still images, where you additionally can manipulate contrast or lightness to better bring out colours and patterns, and also you can show your photos to someone better in ID and ask for advice.

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Watch the birds you know, to get a sense of how they fly and what they look like in silhouette, as others suggested - also, get a sense of how high they usually fly. That may help when seeing new birds, to match into a category… e.g. where I live, harriers fly low with long square-tipped feathery wings, eagles high with broad wings, kestrels have pointy wings and straight tail, etc.

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reminds me of:

i wonder if there are other “at a distance” guides?

if there was an “in flight” annotation for birds (and other flying animals), then you could easily get a similar selection of photos of birds in flight from iNaturalist.

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…and kites have an unmistakable flight behavior called “kiting.”

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You also have this website for European raptors:
Raptor Identification

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You can also find this incredible new book “Flight Identification of European Passerines and Select Landbirds …” by Tomasz Cofta a brick of 500 pages.

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