Black Baza rescue

posted in: Raptors, Rescue | 11


On 24th March 2007 Alex Koh had an exciting encounter around the block where he lived in Serangoon. He was walking when he saw something fell with a loud thud on the tarmac floor near him. It was a bird. On closer look he thought it was an eagle. But it was a Black Baza (Aviceda leuphotes).

The bird was lying helpless on the ground. Alex picked the bird up and noticed blood flowing from its nostrils. There were about half a dozen crows flying above, so he suspected that the crows must have attacked it.

He brought the injured bird home and cleaned blood aroound its face by gently spraying the head area with water. The bird would not allow anyone to touch it, pecking whoever tied to do so. It kept a close watch of Alex’s hands but when a stick was brought towards its beak it did not react at all.

The bird was put in a cage and fed with crickets (left). But it refused to eat or drink. Covering the cage with a piece of cloth and putting a packet of crickets next to it somehow calmed it and it slept through the night.


Two days later the baza appeared to have recovered but still weak. It opened its beak slightly when approached. On the afternoon of the third day it was brought to Simpang in its cage. There, the door was opened and after a short while the bird got out and flew to the nearby patch of vegetation (right).

It was still weak but could manage a short low flight. It landed on the ground but soon managed to get on a shrub and looked back at its rescuers. It then looked up and surveyed its surroundings.


There above, was a crow chasing a buzzard (below). Apprehensive of the danger from the crow, it needed some persuasion from those who were there to witness its release before it flew into a patch of secondary growth.

The Black Baza is a winter visitor. Hopefully it survives its ordeal to join the others in their migration north.

Input and images by Alex Koh.

11 Responses

  1. Anon

    Alex Koh is so lucky because this is such a rare chance to get up close and personal with an exotic bird.

    Do you know of any places and which time of the month that we can view this bird?

  2. Robert DeCandido


    Interesting find, especially in late March. Why? In central-east Thailand (Chumphon) the peak of the migration for this species is about 18-24 March. As of early April (2007), it was still possible to count 2,000 or so in migration in a single day.

    Very few Black Bazs are seen at the Malaysian watch site of Tanjung Tuan. So this sighting in Singapore is interesting…the birds might be travelling to Indonesia via the mainland.

    Regards from NYC,


  3. David

    I’m lucky enough to have a Black Baza.
    Lovely little bird. He’s doing well. I live in Bangkok by the way. Bought him at Chatuchak market for 4000 baht.

  4. Ronald

    Loved these Black Bazas, and it is really difficult getting near enough to shoot it. Either they are camera shy or they had a fear of cameras.

    Anyone know why certain specimen (seen only twice) have got a large whitish eye ring around the eye? Is it going through some kind of morph process, or winter plumage or something?

  5. Samanta

    Hi there, i actually found a Black Baza at the lobby of my condo and it did not really try to fly, im thinking it was weak or injured. I want to at least feed it. Did yours actually eat the crickets you put out for it ?

  6. YC

    Your Baza must have crashed onto the glass panel of the condo. If it has not broken any bones it should be able to fly off soon enough. Feed it with any insects – crickets, grasshoppers…

  7. Am

    What is the reason why these bazas are behaving this way? Could it be that they are disoriented? And if so, why?

    Evidence shows that birds “sense magnetic fields to create a natural version of the global-positioning system” (from, but how exactly they sense earth’s magnetic fields is still not fully understood. I’m wondering if something has gone wrong somewhere (e.g. beak and inner ear, which both have a role to play in birds’ sense of navigation). It also is quite worrying how easily birds can become lost/disoriented if their beak and inner ear suffer physical damage, or if another magnetic field interferes with the earth’s (cf case study on homing pigeons in article linked above).

    • Am

      By the way, I think it would be interesting – and important to see if we get more cases of bird disorientation these days.

      “Power lines and communications equipment also generate weak magnetic fields that can disrupt animal navigation, so ‘it is essential for humans to understand how animals navigate using Earth’s weak magnetic field and the effects of human activity on animal navigation.'” – Source:

      Especially in Singapore where mobile phone & other communications usage are so high. Will this impact wildlife that depend on magnetic fields to navigate?

      • BESG

        Usually it is the reflection from glass panels in tall buildings that disorientate migratory birds flying in at night. The birds fly right through, thinking there is no barrier.

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