Two Robins fighting in the London Zoo featured in yesterdays Theropod Thursday, and I mentioned that I also saw zoo-kept birds mock fighting. Let’s meet the contestants.
A pair of Striated Caracara (Phalcoboenus australis). The two of them were putting on quite a show, as you can see in this photo. Marc Vincent immediately suggested that this was just for me
and in the other corner…. erh, aviary:
an African Harrier-Hawk (Polyboroides typus).
So what was going on between them?
The Harrier Hawk would fly to the mesh partitioning off the two enclosures and hang tight to the mesh. You can see the damage this did to the feathers on wings and tail, their distal ends are all messed up.
It would only take the Caracaras a few seconds to note the “intruder”, and off they went to scare the enemy off:
They did this every few minutes, at least five times while I was watching. One time, it took the Harrier Hawk three tries to get the Caracaras interested, as they were busy cawing to each other (see photo above). Overall, a very cool thing to watch, as all birds involved were clearly aware of the net and the expected reaction by the other party
To round off this post I have a nice view of the Harrier showing all the messed up feathers in detail.