Pirate Spotted in Kabini!
How would you feel when you’ve spent a long time sussing out your prey, before successfully hunting it down, and flying home happily with the spoils, only to have doom strike down from the skies, cheating you of your hard-earned meal? You’d feel very much like the Black-shouldered Kite which lost out to a fellow raptor, albeit bigger, who is pictured here, taking off from his perch, just before his ambush. The Indian Spotted Eagle is a large local raptor with a lighter colouring than others of his ilk, that doesn’t think twice before robbing Kites and even larger Snake Eagles of their prey after they’ve done all the hard work. The picture above, was taken just before our Indian Spotted Eagle ambushed a hapless kite, forcing it to drop a newly captured mouse, which was caught mid-air and consumed with almost as much glee as some of us who poach a free pizza from a delivery boy unfortunate enough to be late beyond the ‘guaranteed 40 minutes delivery, or your pizza free!’ A tree-nesting raptor, this powerful predator prefers hunting small mammals and birds in his preferred habitat of forest clearings with low intensity agriculture. When you get up close and personal (he allows you far closer than other raptors), you notice that his irises are very dark, giving him a piratical mien. You also realize that he has the widest mouth of all spotted eagles, giving him a conspiratorial leer much beloved of the other great pirates of a bygone era. So the next time you’re in this neck of the woods, and feel peckish, you’d do well to look over your shoulders before unwrapping your meal in public. A sudden swoosh and a fluttering of wings could mean that that pirate of Kabini has you in his sights and is all set to unfurl the Jolly Roger!
We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.