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She who must be obeyed

September 20, 2019

This morning I was watching a Common Blackbird (Turdus merula) skip across the back lawn wondering where the neighbour’s cat was when you really needed it when WHAM, within a split-second the aforementioned Blackbird was skewered to the ground by a Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus), see photo below. Man, it happened quickly.

The scientific name for this species is derived from the Latin words accipere meaning ‘to seize or to capture’,  kirros  meaning ‘orange-tawny’ and kephale meaning ‘head‘. Collared Sparrowhawks normally hunt in flight or by diving on prey from low, concealed perches using speed and surprise as an advantage. Small birds make up most of the diet, which can also include birds up to the size of domestic chooks. Our chooks often act as if the Sparrowhawk is around by all of a sudden scurrying with much squawking under the nearest bush and then spending the rest of the day looking skywards. Sparrowhawks  also feed on insects, lizards and small mammals including bats. The kill is taken and eaten on a nearby perch.

As for the Blackbird, if it wasn’t dead already the stare (pictured right) would be enough to stop it in its tracks. Not as deadly as the stare from ‘She who must be obeyed’ but terrifying enough.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 20, 2019 1:38 pm

    The speed and efficiency of their hunt really has to be seen to be believed. No wasted energy.
    No doubt she has a family to feed on the way.

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