Recently I met this fierce fellow at Kabalebo: the Ornate Hawk-Eagle.
It was looking straight into the lens, so at first glance it doesn't quite look like the Ornate Hawk-Eagle. Compared with the Harpy Eagle, the Ornate Hawk-Eagle is seen less frequently. Untill this day I have seen the Ornate Hawk-Eagle at least 3 times so far. In 2015, during a birding trip, I saw a juvenile at the river edge. Mostly white with some 'broken' bars on its belly. The single crest was already visible.
A full grown Ornate Hawk-Eagle can reach a length of the least 65 cm. Usually these raptors hunt on smaller and lighter preys so that they can also easily uplift them to a safer place to eat. But sometimes they are trying out how far their limit goes.
In the afternoon on December 11, 2016, we saw a bird under the guava tree near the staff houses. As it was a warm day and pretty quiet, we thought that it was a Little Chachalaca (Ortalis Motmot) enjoying some falling guava's on the ground. But when we got closer, this bird flew straight under one of the staff houses, but it appeared it was dragging something along with it too.
And here it is, a full grown Ornate Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus ornatus) in plain sight (distance 3 mtrs). It was pretty quiet and was standing still for quite some time. It appeared that this raptor caught something that was almost the same size like itself:
It was a Little Chachalaca (Ortalis Motmot), they can reach a length of 53 cm. Almost as big as the Ornate Hawk-Eagle, but it seems that size doesn't matter at all for this raptor. It used its powerful and sharp nails to take down this bird.
Since its prey was almost the same size as the Ornate Hawk-Eagle, this raptor couldn't fly into one of the tall trees. Instead it flew right into the dense bushes out of harms way so it can enjoy its tasty meal.
It was a privilege to see the Ornate Hawk-Eagle again and better yet as an adult. Seeing this raptor with a meal was a bonus on top of it all.
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