Black baza

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The black baza (Aviceda leuphotes) is a small sized bird of prey found in the forests of South Asia and Southeast Asia. Many populations are migratory. The races in the Indian region are migratory, wintering in the south of the Peninsula and Sri Lanka. The black bazas have short, stout legs and feet with strong talons. A prominent crest is a feature of the bazas. They are found in dense forest often in small groups. They are also known to spend a lot of time perching on bare branches of tall trees rising above the forest canopy.

The black baza is a small and distinctively coloured raptor; it ranges from 30 to 35 cm in length, a 66 to 80 cm wingspan and a weight of 168 to 224 g. When perched, the upright crest and contrasting patterns make it difficult to misidentify. The male has white scapulars, secondary coverts and on the secondaries. The female has white only on the scapulars and more chestnut bands on the underside unlike the few bands in the male.

In flight it is crow like and is often seen in small groups or flocks during migration. During migration, they are gregarious at their roost. They are somewhat crepuscular and more active at dusk and in overcast weather.

They feed mainly on insects by making aerial sallies. They may also pick insects off a leaf, the insects always seized with their feet. They have been observed to attempt capturing small birds such as wagtails by making dashes into flocks. They have been noted to join mixed-species foraging flocks. It has also been known to feed on the fruits of the oil palm. They are somewhat crepuscular in habit. The call is a “chu-weep” somewhat similar to the call of the large cuckoo-shrike. Other descriptions include a soft squeal or whistle and a shrill gull-like mewing.

Like others in the genus Aviceda they have two tooth like indentations on the edge of the upper bill. Birds are said to have a disagreeable odour which has been said to be “bug-like”. source

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