Friday, July 27, 2012

Black Sparrowhawk

Life and the universe tend to sneak you a very pleasant and unexpected surprise every now and then and I clearly got one of those pulling into my driveway the other day.  As I turned off thew road I spotted something on the lawn under one of the two big palm trees in my front yard.  There right in front of me was a bird of prey sitting on top of one of the palm trees' resident pigeons feeding away with very little regard for me trying to get a good picture of him.  After about ten minutes or so he decided to try and carry his dinner away but the pigeon was clearly to heavy for him so he literally bounced across the road and continued feeding on the other side of the road for another 15 minutes or so.
My bird knowledge is so-so and I wasn't too sure what it could be so I uploaded a pic to the PE Photography Club Facebook Page and within minutes the guys identified it as a Black Sparrowhawk.  The Black Sparrowhawk (Accipiter melanoleucus), is the largest African member of the genus Accipiter and occurs mainly in forests and non-desert areas south of the Sahara.  They nest in large trees and has a particular liking for suburban and human-altered landscapes.  It preys primarily on birds of moderate size, which explains why it took down one of the palm tree pigeons.  The adults are dark with white while the juveniles are brown which means looking at its feathers it was probably a young adult. 
Somebody commented that the fact that there are so many feathers lying around shows that its a Black Sparrowhawk as they, unlike most other birds of prey, don't eat the feathers.

It's days like this though that I wish I had a SLR camera with my prosumer super zoom, even though it generally takes fantastic pictures, just taking too long to focus and take the picture resulting in most of the pictures being slightly out of focus or blurry.

Read more about the Black Sparrowhawk on Wikipedia.


  1. Such a wonderful opportunity to photography the meal in process and right in your own front yard. Excellent!

  2. Gruesome but fascinating and a great series of shots.... you were in the right place just in time :-)

  3. Jeepers! Those are great photos Firefly! What a lucky photo opportunity! Have a great week-end!

  4. Great photo, you are lucky to have seen this and thanks for sharing. Have a good weekend. Diane

  5. Wow What a photo opportunity! IF you ever need identifications, you can upload photos onto iSpot for experts at SANBI to help.

  6. Great photos, but the Black Sparrowhawk is not a pretty bird, like the buzzard I posted a little while ago. But they need their picture taken too! :-)

    (An SLR with long lens still requires a tripod.) :-)