Carnivores Pachydermata Ongulates Reptiles Primates, rodents and others Birds Birds of prey Terrestrial birds Waders and water birds
Length: 60-66 cm / Wingspan: 160 cm / Weight: 635-950 g
African harrier-hawks are found in various habitats, but prefers forests, woodland savannahs, and riparian habitats. They are also found in mountainous areas in elevations up to 3,000 meters. This species has adapted well to human interference, and does fine in cultivated and urban environments.
The African harrier-hawk is known for its remarkable and different way of hunting. Although it can hunt like normal raptors, either in low flight or from a perch, it often actively hunt prey by climbing around in trees. It is not uncommon to see African harrier-hawks hanging from branches or tree trunks, sometimes upside-down, as they search for prey. They will also jump from branch to branch or run along larger branches, with wings flapping to keep the balance, as they seek out prey. This peculiar climbing behavior is made possible due to its double-jointed knees that make its legs incredibly flexible. Diet is varied, but it is specialized on tree-dwelling animals, such as birds, reptiles and mammals, which are often captured in tree cavities and crevices. Bird’s nests are also frequently raided. Insects, carrion, and oil palm fruits are also eaten on occasion.
They have no feathers on their face which is helpful when sticking their beaks into small areas to catch prey. This also enables them to blush during their mating displays.
At breeding time, they lay 1-3 eggs on a large nest made of sticks that they build on a cliff or in a tree. Both the male and female help to incubate the eggs and often only the oldest of the chicks survives.