Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wildlife On Wednesday ... the Pacific Baza.

While sitting on our verandah enjoying a leisurely Sunday morning, my husband and I spotted a small group of birds gliding slowly through the bushland and alighting on trees every few metres or so.  As they gradually came closer and closer, we were intrigued to find out exactly what these birds were as neither of us had ever seen anything like them before.  They had the most beautiful striped chest and I thought they would make most appropriate subjects for a WOW post.

Of course, I hastily rushed inside to grab my camera to get a few shots and luckily they were interested in hanging around for a while before slowly flying off into the distance.  After they had gone, we got out our trusty bird identification book and found out they are called the Pacific Baza or Crested Hawk.

Aviceda subcristata, or Crested Hawk, have a distinctive slim black crest on a grey head.  They are the only Australian hawk that has a crest.

They also have rather large, piercing, bright yellow eyes.

Their white breast has dark-brown bars all over it while their long tail has dark bars.  

It's thought that they form permanent pairs and are often found in the company of their mate.  Occasionally they can be in a small family group and I think that was the case with this group of four birds.  It certainly appeared to me to be a family of older birds and juveniles.

Apparently the mating flight display of these hawks is quite spectaular.  They soar and circle up to great heights and then swoop and tumble down.  Unfortunately we were not privileged with any such display.  They were simply cruising the neighbourhood and were gone within twenty minutes.  I do hope we get to see them again!


  1. They are very exotic looking but I'm glad they aren't near my yard. :) You got some great photos of them.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. A good photo of a pretty hawk. At first I looked and thought cockatoo, having a pet one imported from Australia I got over 30 years ago, sometimes there is not much difference. I am betting people in your country wished all the cockatoos went somewhere else!

  3. You got some great shots of your handsome Sunday visitors! You know, I think they come closer and closer to check us out and then fly back and get their guides out to determine what kind of species they just saw sitting on a verandah with camera contraptions : )

    Nature works both ways. I hope these hawks were able to identify you and your husband as Australian gardeners, Homo gardenii australis.

  4. Magnificent bird!

    I just love the stripes on their breast, do both male and female have these stripe or is it primarily the male? It seems as though the males are more detailed and colorful than the females in most bird species.

  5. Lovely looking birds and the eyes are so bright. Great photos!

  6. Cher, I'm always in awe of the birdlife that we're privileged to see around here. Most of the time the birds are quite high up in the trees and we are a comfortable safe distance away but still able to enjoy their company.

    Gardenwalk, yes I have to admit the Cockatoos can drive us crazy here sometimes. Our very noisy daily visitors, the Sulphur Cresteds can be outrageously boisterous!!

    Laurrie, oh that was good! Yes I think we'd fit the Homo gardenii australia category extremely well. You know we do get the feeling sometimes that they're looking at us like we some strange species.

    Wanda, no there's not much difference in colouring and markings between the males and females. The females are slightly larger in size though.

    Sue, thankfully they were rather laid back and relaxed visitors so I had the chance to rush inside and grab my camera. Sometimes I'm just no quick enough and miss so many great shots.

  7. What luck to see such wonderful birds so close! Your pictures are superb! Accompanying information is so interesting too.

  8. What beautiful birds you have visiting your garden!

  9. Ooooh, what a gorgeous hawk, and excellent photos too! I love the little crest, it reminds me slightly of the ones seen on crowned eagles in South America.

  10. Bernie,

    The hawk photos are teriffic! We have been in the storms again with lots of damage. So far my garden has escaped anything very severe but I am really wondering what's going on with nature.


  11. Oh isn't it marvelous when something like that happens! thanks you for sharing with us - they are magnificent photos, you are right - such piercing eyes. I love those stripey chests.

  12. Bernie, absolutely marvellous photos! They are splendid birds. I see them on the powerlines from time to time, but have never taken photos as wonderful as yours.

  13. Wonderful photographs and such an interesting bird!

  14. We were scrutinized by one this morning in our garden when he came and sat no more than 10 feet from us. we felt blessed! thanks for the post so i could see what it was :-)


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