The Jackal Buzzard (Buteo rufofuscus) is a southern African endemic common in alpine grasslands. The name comes from the call – which is eerily similar to our common fox-like scavenger, the Black-backed Jackal. It is one of the most beautiful buzzards - with red tail, chest and beautiful wings.
We often see or hear Jackal Buzzard as we have at least two resident pairs on the property. They put in a brave appearance when the Verreaux's Eagles pay a visit – and I've witnessed some spectacular aerial battles.
At one time I thought I found the nest of the closest resident pair, but climbing up the rocky hill to investigate it was clear that it had not been used for a long time as there were no fresh sticks, and instead of an egg, in the middle of the old nest was a large, bright–green baboon turd. So the nest has been adopted by someone from the local troop.
The last two days I have been ringing at a stream that under dry conditions can produce a good haul, but with the general good rains the last few months, birds are spoiled for choice and the catch was small. However, I did notice that the Jackal Buzzards were present at the site of the old nest, so I went to investigate. They were very defensive, but the nest is still abandoned – perhaps there is one nearby I have just not found yet. This would be the middle of the breeding season, which starts in September, according to historical nesting data from the region.
|Jack Sparrow - our resident House Sparrow and a bit of a pirate at the bird table. Not that he gets confused with the Jackal Buzzards much.|