Pacific Baza (Crested Hawk)
Size: 36-45 cm, wingspan 80 cm.
Distinctive slim black crest on a grey head and yellow eyes. White breast with bold dark-brown/rufous bars, brown wings. Tail has dark bars.
Moderately common bird in the tropics, single or in pairs. Generally quietly hunting in the treetops, but perform a spectacular courtship display in spring, calling loudly. Normal flight is slow and gliding, often undulating.
Habitat: Forest, woodland and urban trees in coastal and subcoastal northern Australia. Quiet and unobtrusive while feeding on foliage insects and tree frogs plus snakes, lizards and small nestlings. Also some fruits. Often hunts from a perch concealed under the canopy. Prefers forest edges.
Call: A sharp double whistle, often repeated (‘ee-chew’), particularly in the breeding season, plus quieter whistles and trills.
Breeds: Sept-Jan. Nest a small platform of twigs, lined with green leaves and in the tree canopy. 2-4 eggs. Incubation period 29 days and a further 32-35 days to fledging.
Often detected by the alarm calls of honeyeaters. Referred to by Daintree locals as the ‘eat you’ bird, from the sound of the call.