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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Jerdon's Baza feasting on a lizard

Jerdon's Baza feasting on a lizard

An earlier posting reported the sighting of a pair of Jerdon's Bazas (Aviceda jerdoni) at Lim Chu Kang. This is a rare passage migrant, having been reported only twice before. The current posting reports on the birds catching and feasting on Changeable Lizards (Calotes versicolor).

Chan Yoke Meng just happened to be at the right place at the right time. But of the two feedings, he managed to document only the second when his view was not obstructed by vegetation. The bird flew into the crown of a tree from a nearby perch (above). It then moved on to the lizard nearby, doing a partial somersault in the process and caught it just below the head. Firmly clutched in its talons, it flew back to its original perch (below). Although unable to move, the lizard put up a spirited fight, opening its mouth wide and baring its teeth. But it was no match against the baza's deadly bill (below). A few powerful blows on the head was enough to render the lizard lifeless (below left; below right shows the close-up view).


















The baza then had a meal of the lizard’s head after wrenching it off the body (below). It then began to dismember the rest of the headless lizard. As each piece was torn off it casually swallowed it. In the process it paused a little to defecate (above). After swallowing the last piece, the bird proceeded to clean its bill against the branch (below). The entire process was completed in 20 minutes. There was a sudden high pitch cry of “pee-ow” from the other bird nearby and the baza flew off to join its mate.

These birds feed mostly on large insects, also on lizards and frogs, and sometimes on small snakes. It hunts from a perch, sallying to the ground or into a tree once a prey is sighted.

Input and images by Chan Yoke Meng. Identification confirmation of the baza and identification of the lizard by R. Subaraj.

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1 Comments:

At 8:12 pm, Anonymous Ding Li said...

I guess the baza lived up to its former name of 'lizard hawk'. Surprisingly it is widely acknowledged that Jerdon's Baza show great similarity to some of the Spizaetus hawk eagles, especially the Wallace's hawk eagle. It could very well be attributed to some form avian mimicry though not very well understood as yet.

 

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