[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Aviceda subcristata | [authority] Gould, 1838 | [UK] Pacific Baza | [FR] Baza huppe | [DE] Papuaweih | [ES] Baza Australiani | [NL] Australische Koekoekswouw
Members of the genus Aviceda are rather small to medium-sized kites (usually called Cuckoo-Falcons or Bazas). Their wings quite long and pointed, the tail is of moderate length and not forked. The edge of the upper mandible has two clearly indicated tooth-like protrusions. They have short, stout legs and feet with well developed talons. Two or three feathers of the nape are elongated as a crest, which is very pronounced in the Black Baza (Aviceda leuphotes) but barely noticeable in the Madagascar Cuckoo-falcon (Aviceda madagascariensis). Adults of the genus are often boldly patterned and barred; the young less so.
In flight it appears broad-winged, with well separated primaries. At times it soars at considerable height, possibly as part of breeding rituals. It obtains most of its food from high up in the trees and sometimes hangs upside-down when collecting insects.
Listen to the sound of Pacific Baza
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
Australasia : widespread. The Crested Baza or Crested Hawk can be found from Lombok and the Moluccas east through New Guinea to the Solomons, and south to Australia
It favours tropical areas, woodland or forest. Throughout its range it is a bird of forest or woodland, preferably with open spaces, and is probably more common than is generally supposed. It perches either on the edge of open spaces or within the forest itself, and prefers dense cover, though it will emerge into savannah at intervals.
The beginning of the breeding season is marked by striking aerial displays. The pair may soar high together, or an undulating display is performed, plunging down and then regaining height with vigorous wing-flapping, sometimes close to the ground, with legs and tail trailing below the body and varied with somersaulting, sideslipping, etc. Single birds flying on a straight course may suddenly roll on to their backs, and right themselves again. The display is accompanied by a lot of calling, and attracts a good deal of attention to the bird. The crest is used in threat display near the nest. The nest is built from scratch by the birds themselves, and branches are sometimes broken off by hanging upside-down and flapping the wings. In Australia it is a slight structure of twigs, lined with green leaves, twelve to fifteen inches across and eight inches deep, with a cup six inches across and two inches deep. It is built in trees, often high up in a big tree, 60-100 feet above ground. In New Britain it has been observed to build in a tall isolated coconut palm.
Two to four eggs are laid from October to December. The incubating bird sometimes sits quietly, but may be aggressive to an intruder on occasion. Both sexes are reported to incubate.
Its preference is for insects, including caterpillars and grasshoppers, some small reptiles. It will also occasionally take frogs, and very rarely mammals.. Most food is obtained from trees, but some on the ground, and some in flight. It has also been known to eat fruit from trees, although these may have been swallowed by accident.
copyright: Ton Tarrant
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Mostly sedentary, outer Sotuheast population will migrate further north or make altitudinal movements.