Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Brown Hawk Owls Sharing a McSunbird Meal


I spotlighted this pair of Brown Hawk Owls during the last tour close to the airport at Katunayake. We first saw the bird on the right arriving at  the above perch with a mouthful. It was soon obvious that the victim was a bird. And looking at zoomed up pictures, I could see that it was a Purple-rumped Sunbird.  

As it started to feed on its prey, it was joined by its mate, seen on the left.
After opening up its prey and biting it heavily—probably to tenderise the prey—the owl with a mouthful presented its meal to its mate next to it to the clatter of Canon Mark 4s.

Here's a close up of this interesting behaviour.


Sadly, I could not photograph it as I was acting as the torch bearer to illuminate the scene. (I don't use a camera flash, so I couldn't have photographed this anyway because this was at nighttime.) These photographs are thanks to Gary Bellingham.

Brown Hawk Owl is a regular in my home garden. It sometimes turns up in daytime roosts, looking smart like this.

My mother is quite fond of this owl. She's often asked me why smaller birds harass it so much when it seems to mind its own business. She's right in way— whenever this owl reveals itself those smaller birds really give it a tough time, mobbing it with no mercy. So much so, they often succeed in chasing it away from its roost and from their sight.

Thanks to Gary's pictures, I have now been able to convince her why smaller diurnal birds such as sunbirds direct so much anger towards the Brown Hawk Owl!

9 comments:

Stu said...

We have this same species in Japan (I've only heard it, never seen it).

Wonderful pics, really great......

Kirigalpoththa said...

Poor Sunbird!

yes, Hawk Owl looks very smart!

Gallicissa said...

@Stu.
I hope you will find a Brown Hawk Owl in the near future.

I see you have changed SSE to Stu. Good!

@K.
Yes, poor bird indeed. FYI, that smart looking BHO was captured through digiscopy.

silent moments said...

It looks like the owl version of the Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde.

Gallicissa said...

Nice one, Patali.

magerata said...

Right time at right place. So much to learn and it never ends. Thanks.

Gallicissa said...

Thank you, Magerata.
Yes, we couldn't have timed it better. This was our last bird species for the trip.

flowergirl said...

Hmmm. Its difficult to imagine this big fella being harassed by a sunbird!

Gallicissa said...

I have often seen Sunbirds starting the trouble for this! Soon they get support from other birds and they have safety in numbers.

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