African Harrier-hawk: The woodpecker-raptor

on 8th October 2009

Mark Chua a.k.a. cajuca was in South Africa recently and documented the antics of the African Harrier-hawk (Polyboroides typus). This raptor is well known for its unique foraging technique of clambering about and hanging from tree branches and rock faces with wings dangling.

The raptor takes most of its prey from the trunk and foliage of trees and less often from the ground. It takes small animals like birds, their eggs and chicks, squirrels, bats, lizards and various arthropods and insect larvae. Its slender bill and long, flexible-jointed legs come in useful in digging out such preys from nests, holes and crevices. It rarely feeds on carrion.

Mark calls it a “woodpecker raptor”, as it behaves somewhat like a woodpecker, moving around tree trunks looking for preys.

Images by Mark Chua.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

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