The series of images by GaoJian LiuJia of a Crested Goshawk (Accipiter trivirgatus) and its prey was photographed at Paisr Ris Park in early March 2015 at about noon.
Discussions on the identity of the prey centered around civet cat or possible squirrel. Jeremiah Loei took the initiative to contact BESG. The images were then sent to civet researchers Xu Weiting and Fung Tze Kwan from the National University of Singapore’s Department of Biological Sciences.
Weiting confirmed that it is a Common Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) based on the long black tail, fur colour and the paws. Tze Kwan agreed, noting that “…it could possibly be a young civet. Civets are partial plantigrade so it has five toes in the fore paws as compared to four toes and a dew claw for cats.”
Note: Plantigrade means walking on the entire sole of the foot on the ground, as in humans. In cats and dogs, there are four toes on its paw with an extra toe (known as “dew claw”) located higher up than the other four toes.
The Crested Goshawk hunts from a concealed high perch. Once it catches the prey, it returns to its perch. There, it tears off pieces to swallow. Its food includes small birds, reptiles, mammals and large insects.
We are not aware of any earlier reports of it taking a civet, let alone a Common Palm Civet. Considering that the goshawk caught the civet around noon, it must have noticed its presence resting among vegetation. After all, the Common Palm Civet is a nocturnal animal.
GaoJian LiuJia, Jeremiah Loei, Xu Weiting & Fung Tze Kwan