Winter visitor Black baza spotted near Chadivayal

A Black baza spotted by birders at Chadivayal in Coimbatore district on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

When a group of 13 nature enthusiasts from Coimbatore embarked on a birding trip to Chadivayal jungles on Sunday, little did they expect to chance upon an unusual visitor.

Among the 40-odd birds spotted on the trail, one bird stood out with a black overall and white breast band separated by a narrow black stripe from the variable chestnut band on the belly – Black baza (Aviceda leuphotes).

R. Mohammed Saleem of the Environment Conservation Group, who led the group, spotted the bird first, an individual on its flight.

“It did not take much time for me to identify the bird as I had spotted the bird from the same forest area in December 2016. As we walked further, another individual was seen perching on a tree,” he said.

Prasath Selvaraj, an independent researcher, and Varun Suraj, a class XII student, managed to photograph the bird.

A black crest is another distinctive feature of the small raptor that feeds on insects, beetles, lizards and small birds among others. As per records, Black baza is normally found in the forests of eastern Himalayas, Northeast India, China and Southeast Asia. They winter the south of the Peninsula and are seen in small groups.

“Black baza is widely seen in places such as Thattekkad and Thekkady in Kerala during the winter. The ones seen in Coimbatore region could also be the ones migrating in the winter,” said Mr. Saleem.

Other sightings of Black baza with photographic records in Coimbatore region include the one by two members of environmental organization Osai at the Anamalai Tiger Reserve in December 2015 and by a birder at Kovai Courtallam in January 2019 which has been listed in eBird’s Coimbatore checklist.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 8:19:45 AM |

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