The Great Black Hawk is a common bird of prey in Kabalebo. It is seen frequently near the river and the lodge. In Suriname it is known as the 'Blaka Aka' which is literally translated from its English name.
When I started learning about the different birds in Kabalebo, the Great Black Hawk was the first bird of prey that I spotted. That was back in 2009, it was the biggest bird that didn't flew away when I tried to get closer. It was fascinating to see a big bird this close. The Great Black Hawk can reach a length between 50 - 65 cm. So indeed a large bird of prey. Years later I still can spot different Great Black Hawks near the lodge. It knows that it is not threatened by anyone, so spotting this bird is a piece of cake. Even for the non birders.
I have always seen this bird alone, but when they mate they are seen in couples … of course . Even though it is a common bird, I still haven't spotted their nests. Which is very strange to know as I see quite often juveniles and immatures frequently at open areas. Well, hopefully the day will come … soon I hope.
I have seen this solitary bird also quite often on the ground, searching for food. Most likely for toads, frogs, lizards or snakes. Sometimes I see them with small birds too. When their catch is small they swallow it easily, but bigger catch has to be torn apart. Just like this unfortunate giant toad. What a pity, but the big guy has got to eat too.
During the years I was, and still am, in the fortunate position to photograph the Great Black Hawk at different stages in their life: juvenile - immature - adult.
Not only will you see a change in their 'uniform' but you will also see a progress in their behavior: from an uncertain young bird into a confidence fierce looking adult.
The juvenile usually likes to call for its parents, because who said that becoming an adult was easy?! When it becomes older the screaming will surely stop. I was able to record one of these calls.
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