Eurasian hobby (Falco subbuteo) or just simply hobby, is a small, slim falcon. Many times, its face particularly resembles slightly that of Peregrine Falcon.
This beautiful raptor is an portrait of patience during early morning times. It keeps sitting on a tree branch for long times unless crows or drongos disturb it
As the day progresses slightly, it becomes active. It takes its prey on wings. It hunts large dragonflies, bats, martins and swallows. It continually harasses these while they are roosting and coming out of the roost.
This raptor visits our area in North India in winters although I have spotted it once in a while during summers also.
My guess is that they are not resident birds but passage migrants here coming here from Eurasian regions to ward off the severe winters and after staying here for some time, again move down towards central and western India where winter is less severe in comparison.
I have taken its pics during this time of the year many times in the forest areas near my home.
There is a forest near my home. It is maintained by Department of Forests. The department has converted a small portion of the forest into a Nature Park. I am a regular visitor to this park where sometimes very different birds make their appearance. One day, I was lucky to spot this beauty perched on the branch of a leafless tree.
It was sitting very patiently perhaps inviting me to take as many pictures as I liked. I took so many pictures. When I processed them, I had some confusion between Eurasian Hobby and Peregrine Falcon because the former was spotted many times by me.
But it turned out to be Shaheen Falcon juvenile.
The shaheen falcon with scientific name Falco peregrinus peregrinator is a subspecies of Peregrine Falcon. It is found mainly in the Indian subcontinent. Other common names for the subspecies include the Indian peregrine falcon, black shaheen falcon, black shaheen, Indian shaheen. It is a master hunter and usually takes the prey in the air. It can achieve horizontal speeds up to 240 kilometres per hour and when it descends, can attain a speed of 300 kilometres per hour.
Peregrine falcons were greatly prized by Mughal kings especially emperor Jahangir. It appears on the emblem of Pakistan Air Force. Pakistani cricket team is also nicknamed after this raptor.
It is also called Crested Honey Buzzard with scientific name as Pernis ptilorhynchus. It is a bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as kites, eagles, and harriers.
It is quite big raptor with a long tail. It’s head is very small like that of pigeon. It is a specialist bird feeding on the larvae of bees. It also consumes crumbs of the honeycomb. Additionally it take cicadas.
It’s flight is very stealthy. In a forest it is possible to spot it only when it is perched on top of very lofty trees.
Again I spotted it quite a number of times in the forest near my home. Here are some pictures.
There are so much diversity in the birds. They differ in size, color, feeding habits. Many birds have adapted themselves to live in different climates and habitats. Such birds are found almost in all corners of the globe. But there are certain birds which are specific to specific habitats.
One category of the birds is called birds of prey or raptors. They hunt the smaller birds for their food. They have keen eyesight, strong talons and beaks. They can take smaller birds in flight, sitting . Some specialise in catching fish and snakes , lizards and squirrels. Some even survive on the rotten flesh of carcasses.
Some examples of the raptors are falcons, eagles, buzzards, kites , ospreys, owls.
During my outings for wild life photography in my area, I have come across some raptors. Their pictures are given below
Oriental Honey Buzzard
The list is not exhaustive. I will add more raptors in another post.