I am very sure that that bird is a black sparrowhawk, looks identical to my local pair in Cape Town!
Annoyingly, my whole approach to birding has shifted somewhat since we started this series. Now I think of the most cryptic way to represent a bird in a photograph while still leaving enough evidence to ID it, rather than looking for the best picture. Well, not all the time, but it does cross my mind. As mentioned before in these posts, it’s not always that the bird is hard to ID but that the view of it can be fleeting or obscured. Or it usually isn’t seen here, which can totally throw your reasoning process.
Today’s bird is one of the latter (big clue). We were sitting at a Koppie in the north of the property hoping to catch a glimpse of the Ingrid Dam female and her cubs, when Camp Manager Ben Delport suddenly shouted, “THERE, THERE!!”. Our heads whipped round, adrenalin immediately flooding our systems as we expected to see a pride of leopard cubs tearing across the rocks, but all we saw was a rather indistinct bird chasing another, smaller, indistinct bird…
OK it was actually pretty exciting. Not brand-new-leopard-cub-exciting but still great when it comes to birds.
The chaser missed the dove that it was after and landed in a marula nearby, allowing us a good view to be able to ID it.
As a Christmas gift to everyone, I enlarged the photo slightly to make it easier to identify. The bird was skittish and wouldn’t let us get close enough for a good photo, but luckily we had a 600mm lens with us.
As usual the answer will be announced in The Week in Pictures this Friday…
Filed under Bird ID Challenge Birds
Not a bad guess. Check in tomorrow on TWIP for the confirmation!