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Harrier-hawk, African (Gymnogene)

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
Aquilla
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Unread postby Aquilla » Mon May 09, 2005 4:10 pm

I have been quiet lucky with them in that I have seen them on about 10 occations over the years. They were either on the wing or were scrabling up and down branches in search their main prey, hole nesting bird chicks. The legs and tarsus have been modified to go into any nook and cranny in search of prey...even bending backwards!

I saw one a few weeks ago on the Timbavati road searching for the young of a Burchells Starling. It was brilliant to see how its face continuously changed from yellow to red(when bothered by the Starling)to yellow. It happens very quickly.

I think the Afrikaans is Kaal-Wang Valk

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Unread postby Bush Baptist » Thu May 12, 2005 9:37 pm

On the way up to Grootkolk in Kgalagadi, :D there is a waterhole/well whose name escapes me, but I and others have, at different times, seen an enormous number of raptors in the huge tree there, including gymnogene. There must have been about 50, martials, bateleurs, tawnies sitting side by side sheltering from the 40+ heat. Too hot for even eagles to soar.
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Unread postby Katja » Mon Jun 27, 2005 5:39 pm

I saw 2 (adult and juvenile) at Shimangwaneni Dam last month. 8)
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Unread postby francoisd » Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:35 am

Saw an adult bird at Crook's Corner on 27 January 2006. Any other recent sightings of this bird?
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Unread postby Elsa » Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:49 am

Unfortunately the only one I have seen was one here in Durban sitting in a tree in front of the house for about 4 hours.
Stunning bird tho.
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Unread postby peterpiper » Sat Mar 25, 2006 12:55 pm

I've seen them a few times in Jo'burg, - saw one last week in Parktown near the zoo. Any other sightings in big cities?

Not seen many in Kruger, but a few in Kgalagadi north of Nossob.
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Unread postby Snoobab » Fri Apr 21, 2006 8:18 am

This morning on my way to work after dropping my son off at school in Houton I was travelling on the road below (east) Old Eds Virgin Active and saw one sitting in a Palm tree. Nice bird to tick off for your garden.

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Unread postby Bush Baptist » Sat May 06, 2006 11:04 pm

Saw juvenile on the H15 near to Makhadzi last July. It was only when I looked at my video that we realized what it was.
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Unread postby peterpiper » Mon Jun 05, 2006 4:52 pm

Saw this one from the main road on the way to Orpen Gate in the late afternoon. It was obsessed with catching geckos in the cracks of this old tree and therefore stuck around for quite awhile. The next morning, it was still in the area.

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Unread postby Snoobab » Tue Jun 06, 2006 9:40 am

Also nick named "The best nest raider by far" These birds have the ability to hang at almost any angle and stick either their neck/head or a foot into bird nests and help themselves to whatever is in the nest.

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Unread postby Ollie » Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:45 am

Have regularly seen them at the Girivana water hole on the S12 near Satara.....

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Unread postby Penny » Fri Jun 09, 2006 5:15 pm

Have seen them in the blue gums just off the H5 on the small loop there.

We are also visited by one fairly regularly in our garden at home here in Durban. They wrap their wings around the nesting logs we have put up for the barbets and insert their feet with those sharp talons trying to hoik the baby birds out. Fascinating birds especially when they blush!
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Unread postby Katja » Fri Jun 09, 2006 7:50 pm

last year katja wrote:I saw 2 (adult and juvenile) at Shimangwaneni Dam last month. 8)

I had another sighting of one adult at the same dam 2 weeks ago.
Also saw a gymnogene on the H1-8 near the Mashikiri waterhole.
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African Harrier Hawk (Gymnogene)

Unread postby richardharris » Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:20 pm

Puzzled over this for a while, before realising that it is (I hope!) a juvenile gymnogene. Newman describes it as a fairly common eagle - but I don't get to see that many.

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Unread postby j-ms » Mon Jun 26, 2006 9:11 pm

cybeR@NGER wrote:The name has been changed to African Harrier-Hawk.
The flushed red facial skin, which is normally yellow, indicates breeding display.
Excellent capture !

According to my books, the exposed facial area flushes when excited (and not necessary sexual excitement!). I've never seen this myself and I have seen quite a lot of Gymnogenes, including when in what I would think would be exciting situations such as feeding from nests while being mobbed by the nestlings parents, so I think you were quite fortunate to witness this.


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