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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Accipiters in our neighbourhood

Accipiter family bird
It was 9 a.m.; the time to leave for work. I was packing my lunch, while my sister read newspaper in the dining area. She looked up while turning a page and happened to see a big bird, about a foot tall, perched in the balcony across the room. 

This was an opportunity that could not be missed.

Juvenile Shikra
Eurasian Sparrowhawk

My sister grabbed her Olympus SLR and quietly crept into the adjacent balcony. My sister and me took turns to take pictures and admire the magnificent bird. The hawk like bird, stayed on the spot for few minutes, fanning its wings and tail feathers, in the warm winter sun. A soon as it saw us, the bird spread its wings and flew away.

I had seen a similar bird, on the boundary wall of our housing society a few years back. In the last 10-15 days, we sisters have looked into a number of books and surfed through various birding websites to identify what we had seen and to to confirm, whether the two sitings were of the same bird. Uploading the pictures taken on both occasions in this post.

Tail feather fan

Three members of the Accipiter family, closely fit the description of the birds we had seen. These are the besra, the shikra and the Eurasian sparrowhawk. There is very little difference between the three birds; the coloring is brighter in besra and sparrow hawk than in shikra. The marking on the body are also different denser in one, paler in another and . Link to websites which give a good description of the Accipiter birds is given here. 

Bird poses some more

After much debate, it was concurred that the bird on the balcony was a juvenile shikra and the one seen earlier on the boundary wall was an Eurasian sparrowhawk. However, if anyone can provide definite identification, after examining the bird pictures, they are requested to enlighten me on the subject.

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