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Spotted Deer – The Chitals with the Golden Gleam

Spotted Deer

Description – Spotted Deer

Spotted Deer otherwise Chital Deer are inhabitants to the wildernesses of the Indian subcontinent. They are gentle, exquisite, and sacred spirited herbivores hopping the floors of the canopy. White belly and spots flecked ruddy-brown coat aids the Indian Spotted Deer put on a novel gleam in the luminous rays of dawn and dusk. With the first rays of the dawn, the herd vigilantly grazes along backing each other from the ambush of big felines and wild canines.  Living in herds led by a few males, Chitals graze and socialize among valleys and woodlands of the land of diversity.

Spotted Deer possess the unique ability to extricate leaves and fruits among the deadly thistles along with their regular diet including grass and twigs. With the dry season setting in, they predominantly use the hind legs to reach the branches for the leaves, fruits, and seeds. Their fondness in living close to the Langur settlement provides them feed (fruits and seeds) from the canopy and a narrow window to escape the predators. Chital Deer is attentive to the alarm call of the Langurs to secure the young ones and escape the predators. The antlers are not much productive in defending the threats, they rely on speed in outrunning the predators. At times they succeed, many a time they fail.     

The antlers, an augmentation of the skull in males measuring up to 100 cm (3 feet) long are fanned to three having pointy ends. The antlers of the Chital deer closely resemble the Sambar deer having three prongs. It helps the alphas locking antlers in winning a possible mate during sexual selection. The antlers are shed each year, longer the antler better the predominance in winning the selection. The males being larger among the family of Chitals are cautious about the herd they lead from rivals seeking an opportunity to dominate.

In a herd, the populace ranges between 20 to 50 and has 90 % of females. Males in a herd are likely to be three to four. Unlike other mammals, Spotted Deer have a mating cycle lasting a whole year. They conceive an offspring independent of a specific season attributable to the favorable warmer climatic conditions on the Indian subcontinent. The male fawn takes 2 years to attain maturity where females require only a year and a half.  Reaching up to 85 kilograms they have a life expectancy of 30 years. Out in the wild many run short of the life expectancy as they fall victim to Asiatic Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Wolves, and Wild Dogs. The Spotted Deers are likewise found in Sri Lanka and have been acquainted with a few countries over the globe owing to their enchanting beauty.

Authors Perspective

The antlers of the Indian spotted deer due to its restorative worth are firmly viewed operating at a profit in the black market. It experiments in the treatment of cancer and similar deadly diseases. Similarly, the Deerskin has consistently been at the highest priority on the rundown in the article of clothing and calfskin industry in delivering the best and costly outfits. This cleared route for the advancement of mafia and unlawful chasing in a tremendous scope representing an obstruction to the deer populace. In rural areas in the vicinity of the jungle, Deer’s are hunted for sport and flesh. Even though illegal, the cruelty continues with no leniency.  With urbanization at the pinnacle, fencing and industrial wastes inflict injuries, confine to a smaller habitat and even poison these tender beings.  

Elephants – The Ivory Bearer of Wisdom and Pride

Elephants - The Ivory Bearer of Wisdom and Pride

Description – Elephants

Elephants, after Jurassic and Holocene epoch, are the largest land mammal grazing the planet. Holding keys to unrivaled Intelligence, power, and social conduct, the giants amble in the wilderness of Africa and Asia. Inferable to climate and feeding habits, African giants are bigger than their Asian relatives. The symbol of wisdom inhabiting either continent is notable for their memory in seasonal migration. Path opted in search of thick vegetation and water bodies, is memorized and followed each year before the drought sets in. Each member holds responsibility in looking out for each other ensuring the herds well being from vicious predators and hidden threats.

Among Asian Elephants, only males tend to grow tusks. The canine augmentation symbolizes a unique status and pride for the tusk bearer. Tusks grow long and can land a lethal blow while defending territory and predators. The giants of Africa have broader ears with numerous capillaries embedded to eliminate excess body heat. The ears of Asian Elephants are marginally littler and have fewer capillaries owing to cooler habitats. Elephants have immense affinity in grazing areas rich in water bodies and are master swimmers. Healthy habits don’t restrict them from crossing rivers bearing incredible flows. They drink up to 50 gallons consistently and favor drenching themselves in marshes to get away from the scorching sun.

African Elephants further classified as Bush Elephants and Forest Elephants are distinct in their behavior. Forest Elephants are littler with better oval ears and straight pointed tusks. They exist in the smaller gathering of four to five and feed on branches, fruits, and leaves found in the jungle. Bush Elephants across savanna and woodlands survive on foliage, grass, twigs and have tusks projecting outward. It is evaluated that one among the big five of Africa grazes three-fourths of a day consuming 400 – 600 pounds of food. Each clan is led by adult females owing to bulls’ preference to amble solitary.

Mud Bath, a one of a kind behavior exhibited by the giants aid them to escape the heat and avoid parasites. The two finger-like arrangements at the tip of the proboscis of African Elephants unlike its Asian relatives make it easy for grabbing berries and fetching twigs. The keen sense of smell guides them to keep away from the vicious predators. The Lions of Africa are extreme giant hunters and posses a great threat to the clan. They target and isolate the calf from the herd and are successful at times. Many a time the elders form a protective wall guarding the calf. The wall cast turns an effective shield in protecting the young ones.  

The bulls, at a point of time every year showcases extreme rage and uproot whatever is in the vicinity. This rage knew as ‘musth’ is owing to the hormonal ascent of testosterone. The testosterone induces a firey behavior in bulls to win a possible mate by exhibiting strength. Many times in the wild the bulls fight to prove dominance. The gestation period of an African Elephant extent to 22 months and that of Asian elephants ranges from 18 – 22 months.   

Authors Perspective

The survival of elephants is under constant threat with humans as the opposition. The only threat to the elephant populace is humans. The increase in demand for ivory across international markets elicits illegal hunting. To add on, meat and skin to have its pricing listed across the market. With the expansion in the human populace, the woodland turns agrarian land raising clashes among either species. Poison darts, pesticides, and other human-introduced traps prove costly for the life of these species. Coexisting respecting each other’s boundaries could only be the possible solution to a balanced ecosystem.

Leopards – The Invincible Hunters of the Secretive Shadows

Leopard - The Invincible Hunter of the Secretive Shadows

Description – Leopards

Nature in her ways is tight-lipped of offering camouflage environments for both predators and its prey. Predator’s ability to blend well hand in hand with its climbing, sprinting, and nocturnal skills place them on top of the food chain. Leopards exhibit a highly secretive and shy character that makes it tough to track unlike other members of the feline family. They invade regions beyond its territory in search of new hunting grounds in the veil of night. Leopards have a territory imprinted as its hunting ground for survival and are well defended from gatecrashers other than during the mating season.   

Leopards are found in Central and Southern Asia, India, China, and Africa. With particular and much-characterized spot coating, each Leopard is novel. Inhabitants of lavish green wildernesses have a deeper yellow coat with dark spots contrasted to the ones residing in hills and valleys. The plumage difference in an adaptation skill by the climate and habitat of the geography. The males are larger than the females reaching 6 feet in length and weighing up to 30 kg. The tail is shorter than the body, it helps maintain balance while climbing and hunting.

Leopards are the only members of the cat family those capable of hunting from an elevation. They can leap from the tree top or a cliff. It uses freefall as a technique waiting patiently at the treetop or camouflage among the bushes and rocks to bring down the prey. They are termed invincibly attributable to their ability to hunt and vanish least expectedly.  On hunting, within no time the prey is hauled to the treetops or bushes to escape the scavengers. Many a time, the prey is robbed off by starving Hyenas and Wild dogs those trail the silent hunters for a free meal.

Leopards can have up to five cubs in a litter. In a litter, on average, two to three cubs are being observed on a broader scale. It is far-fetched that all cubs make it to adulthood. Cubs are under constant threat from Hyenas, Lions, and Wild dogs. Unlike other big cats, the mother brings up the cubs on her own. Leopards hide the cubs in bushes and fallen tree trunks to avoid predators. Mother Leopards keep the cubs in their vicinity and communicate via soft calls. The cubs are often shifted to a new den to confound the predators. It takes two months for the offspring to learn and begin climbing. Till then, the danger lurks around.

Authors Perspective

Leopards have built up a liking in living close to human settlements due to habitat loss. With habitat loss being one of the significant concerns, Leopards target cattle and pets as prey. Inferable from their mysterious nature, they are difficult to spot and continue sharing common grounds with humans. On the other hand, Leopards in the wild are being still hunted by poachers for their fur and teeth. In certain nations, the fur coat is worn and used for religious practices. Leopards’ populace has decreased over the years and protection is an absolute necessity.

Barn Owl – The Elegant & Silent Hunter of the Darker Skies

Barn Owl - The Silent Hunter of the Night

Barn Owl – Description

Nocturnality is a skill very few master for survival. Among the bird species, only a handful exhibits nocturnal behavior in precision hunting. Barn Owl, the nocturnal predator hunts with a keen sense of hearing, smell and vision.  The ability to skim in absolute silence makes it one of a kind. Barn’s are named on their extensive preference over residence in the wooden barns which today is on the verge of decline. Unlike other members of the owl family, Barn Owl can hunt in daylight and this behavior has been spotted across the globe.

Barn Owl’s habitat is not restricted to a particular region. Its reign extends beyond rural territories, deserts, forests, and wetlands to the urban areas. The unique ability of silent flight helps it adapt, hunt, and survive in diverse environments. The ability to fly silently is attributable to its compact body, larger wings with sharp edges, and oil-free feathers. Barn Owl’s wingspan ranging up to 44 inches with a minimal stroke generates sufficient momentum to glide with ease. The sharp feather edges effortlessly slice the air layers leaving no trace of its flight.

Heart-shaped facial disk streams and siphons the sounds to the supersensitive ears hidden within feathers. Ears hidden behind the facial disk are capable of picking up the slightest of murmurs from the prey. Long legs coated in feathers and claws are healthily contrasted to similar predators in the avian kingdom.  The downward-facing razor-sharp beak is a specialized weapon in killing and tearing the flesh with ease.

Barn Owl’s habitat is diverse but prefers closed premises as a haven. Camouflaging outdoors doesn’t blend well having white plumage with black, brown, and gray spots on wings. It continues to reside and nest in abandoned buildings, caves, towers, and tree hollows. Their selective behavior in choosing habitats has always been a topic for discussion. They have compassion in dwelling close to human settlement. Barn Owl’s diet includes arthropods, bats, and rodents those abundant in territories of human settlement.

Among Barn Owls, the females are larger than the males. During the nesting phase, the male imprints on a fine settling ground. The male defends it from other males attempting to take over until he wins a potential partner.  Unlike other birds, the owl nests are not made of twigs. A scrape is dug out and four to five eggs are laid. The eggs hatch after a month of incubation period and the young ones are fed taking turns by the parents.  The chicks mature within a year and fly off in search of new nesting grounds. Barn Owl’s lifespan is measured to be 4 years out in the wild and somewhat longer in captivity.

Authors Perspective

Over the centuries, owls are hunted owing to misbelieves and superstitions spread far and wide. They are assumed to be the bringer of darkness and presumed a bad omen. This myth paved way for a subsequent decline in the owl populace attributable to extensive hunting. The demolition of old buildings and likely habitat loss has considerably reduced the nesting grounds for Barn Owls. Several incidents of owl falling victim to fences, fishing lines, and nets have been accounted for the increasing threat to the species existence. Excessive use of pesticides and pest control mechanisms have made it even tougher for the silent hunters to find prey for their survival.  

Flamingos – The Flock of Rhythmic Dancers in Pink

Flamingo

Flamingos – Description

Migration is inevitable to specific species those residents to the coldest places on Earth. An adaptation to endure the fall weather when the resources turn cold. Flamingos, the pink flock are one such species to their life cycle that migration is seasonal. Flock wading and pristine pink plumage of Flamingos is an awe-inspiring sight to witness. The pink appearance of these social birds is owing to its carotene rich diet of shrimps and blue-green algae. Resident to Africa, India, Middle East, and South America are water birds having a lifespan of up to 40 years.

Flamingos habitat includes lakes, lagoons, and swamps where they socially interact in a flock of two hundred to thousands. Types of Flamingos are categorised into a class of six; American Flamingos, Andean Flamingos, Chilean Flamingos, James Flamingos, Greater & Lesser Flamingos. The feeding habits remain the same for each class. With the beaks as good filters, streams shrimps and algae from the sand and foreign particles.

The webbed feet of Flamingos are multi-functional. It helps in easy wading, spooking shrimps, and isolating algae from the soil.  It likewise aids in weight balancing while dozing on one leg. It has not been quite clear to date from several hypothesis put forward that why Flamingos doze on one leg. The long and slender adaptation of legs helps with adequate momentum in taking off supporting the comparatively larger upper body.

Flamingos are well known for their dance moves. Unlike most birds, the males dance in a group in attracting a mate. They wade in a group with the swift left-right slightly lifted head turn. The swift leg movement on dancing is often compared to the march past. On attracting a mate, the pair sticks together and continues to mate for the lifetime. The nest is set up on the mounds of mud having up to two eggs in a clutch.

Both male and female parent equally partakes in the process of feeding. It is a unique attraction to witness the way the red crop milk is fed to the chicks. Crop milk is a highly nutritional esophageal secretion produced by the parent Flamingos to boost the immunity of the chicks. The young Flamingos form smaller groups leaving the nest within 12 days. The young groups merge with the parental groups before the seasonal migration ends.

Authors Perspective

During seasonal migrations, hundreds of these water birds perish owing to ageing and illness. In like manner, human interventions play a vital role in posing threats to the seasonal inhabitants. Ghost nets and hooks tangle around making it hard for the birds to survive. Once tangled in nets, trying to break free they get tangled further and drown in the high tides. Several cases have been reported on angling snares getting hooked making it a nightmare for the birds.

Contamination of water bodies is another factor degrading the quality of these social bird’s diets. Owing to increased pollution, the number of shrimps and spirulina diminishes day by day making it hard for the birds to survive. Incidents of polythene scraps retrieved from the gut of dead birds reveals insights on the rise in pollutants in the water bodies.

Wolves – The Pack Hunters of the Snowy Mountains

Wolves – The Pack Hunters of the Snowy Mountains

Description: Wolves

From times unknown through tales to reality, wolves lead the hierarchy among canines. Appearing in various complexions and personalities, they continue ruling the peaks and valleys across continents. Pack hunters of the mountains hold incredible pride and faith among each other in their way of life. Having each other’s back, bridge a bond that unites the pack as one. Each pack has an alpha male and an alpha female chosen based on quality, strength, and will. Alpha male imprints on the fellow wolves his courage and dependability in leading the pack until his reign is taken over.

Wolves on topography belong to two classes, the Gray Wolves and the Ethiopian Wolves. Gray’s have its essence set apart in an immense scope where Ethiopian’s are confined to the peaks of Ethiopia. Wolves differ in size based on the topography. Contrasted with other relatives of the canines, the legs of wolves are longer and thinner. The slender adaptation helps to chase, hunt and survive in the coldest of climates.

Over the past few centuries, wolves have been hunted for sport and fur. This paved way for a decline in the species population in several Nations. Poaching resulted in the loss of habitat and these predators had to further disappear deep into the woods. A decline in habitat have now stamped wolves as endangered and an imbalance in the ecosystem with the subsequent decline. Several nonprofit associations are in a constant struggle to secure the pack hunters.

Each pack varies in number, yet all have an alpha male and female. Although the number varies, they have the pack hunting strategy. Before and after the hunting they all assemble to be aligned for the kill. They round up the prey on hunting and bring it down with a powerful bite on the neck. All members of the pack claim an equal share of the kill. The most dangerous among the wolves are the Gray’s of the Arctic. They have the power to hunt and bring down the polar bear who is termed the apex predator of the Arctic.

The howl has been clarified and comprehended multi-functional. To know each other’s location, territory safeguarding, and hunt call. They have a life span of 10 years; in captivity, it can live twice its prescribed lifespan. Males weigh up to 75 kilograms and females up to 55 kilograms. They can bring down prey weighing double its body weight. They feed on bison’s, deer, moose, elk, rodents, and birds.

Pups – Wolves

In a litter, up to 6 cubs are born and unless a year old they are well protected by the pack. The cubs are made to closely watch the elders and master the skill of hunting. The elders will wound the prey and make the cubs kill the prey as a learning phase. Over a while, the cubs master the technique and be a part of the pack. Pack switching is very often found among the wolves. This happens to owe to the rivalries among the alphas.

Bat Falcons – The Authentic Bat Hunters of Dawn & Dusk

Description – Bat Falcon

Bat Falcons, the apex predators of falcon family hunts predominantly at dawn and dusk. Bat Falcons reside over the regions of Mexico, South and Central America. Their reign extends to the regions in Trinidad. They are termed Bat Falcons owing to their extensive feeding habit on bats. In the family of Bat hunters, the females are much larger compared to the males. The females range up to 12 inches in length where the males measure up to 9.5 inches. The fully mature adults have a black plumage coat over the head and tail with white along the neck and upper breast. The back portion appears in light to darker variations of grey. The feathers covering the belly and thighs have shades of orange with razor-sharp claws in black at the tip.

Brown eyes surrounded by a yellow ring, have a keen sense of vision that helps in targeting the prey. Bat Falcons are generally solitary predators with pointed wings. The wingspan measuring twice its body length allows exceptional hunting skills in nailing the prey. It sends out sharp calls that could be heard over a mile in distance. The sharp calls at times are relied on to distract and lure the prey. Being smaller and compact in size and shape, these birds of prey can dodge the obstacles and infiltrate denser ecosystems to make a kill. Perched up high on the cliffs or solitary branches in open woodlands and forests, it strikes the prey with greater velocity.

On snatching the prey in midair, these birds perch up the high branches, cliffs or ground. With the black notched bill, the prey is deskinned and feasted upon. Bat Falcons are considered close relatives of the Orange Breasted Falcon. Unlike Orange-breasted Falcon, Bat Falcons have no orange plumage over the breast region. The favorite hunting grounds of the Bat Falcons are riversides, where they patrol for bats, smaller birds and insects. The females of this family feed largely on bats and birds since they are larger compared to the males. The males majorly feed on insects such as dragonflies, beetles, etc.

Bat Falcons are seen in pairs only during the mating season. The nest is set up in cavities in trees 50 to 60 meters above the ground level. In a clutch, 2 to 4 eggs are found and the incubation period ranges to 7 weeks. During the nesting period, the male takes complete responsibility for hunting and feeding the family. It takes up to 45 days for the hatchlings to take the first flight. Till then both parents are busy patrolling the nest from predators.

Authors Perspective

Due to extensive deforestation and habitat loss, these raptors are facing extinction in certain nations. Bat Falcons are victims of human interventions. These wings of prey are hunted for sport, captured and trained for falconry. With a considerable decrease in Bat Falcons and related falcon species, there is a subsequent increase in its prey and thereby an imbalance in the ecosystem. With the increase in the prey, a wide variety of crops are being affected on a large scale.

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Black Panthers – The Solitary Beasts Who Rules the Night

DESCRIPTION – BLACK PANTHERS

Black Panthers, rare and beautiful are related species of Leopards and Jaguars. Appearing in pitch to shady shades of black, in Asia and Africa, Black Panthers are born of Leopards whereas, in the America and UK, they are born of Jaguars. The dark appearance in Panthers is induced by Melanism, a color mutation that provides an authentic shiny black coating throughout the body. Melanism is a genetic condition constituting a superior amount of black pigmentation in the layers of skin and hair. Black Ghost of the jungles has been a common terminology provided on its versatile appearance apart from Black Jaguars and Black Leopards. These animals cannot be contained and can only be seen if they wish to be seen. No boundaries can limit these magnificent creatures from imprinting as their own.

Panthers measure up to 8 feet in length and weigh up to 250 pounds. Their reign can range across Rain Forests, Savannah, Mountains, and Deserts. Black Panthers have powerful paws and sharp claws that help in hunting reptiles, birds and a variety of mammals. The excellent eyesight and hearing put them right on top of the food chain. Black Panthers are endangered species owing to hunting, global warming, habitat loss, and pollution. Black Panthers are the masters of the dark since they hunt mostly at the night. Every available resource in the wild is utilized to hide and get closer to the prey.  They blend so well with the environment that they hardly miss their target.

These authentic species have a unique capability of leaping 20 feet high to bring down the prey. Just like any other cat family members, these confident hunters have a flexible spine that adjusts and allows them to land on four feet. Wet seasons are ideal hunting grounds for the black panther as the shadows dominate and act as cover for camouflage. Clouds during the wet season is an added advantage in constituting to the shadows. It makes even harder for the prey to spot these apex predators. During the dry season, the shadows of trees are reliable and have to be alert to keep out from the alarming screech of Macaques to warn the prey on the hunt.  These extremely good tree climbers, unlike other cats, are solitary beasts and prefer isolation. They hardly socialize and are found alone rather than at the pairing phase. This animal is capable of killing its prey with one fatal bite on the neck. This formidable predator has the ability to take down prey which is larger in size and drag it all the way up the tree.

REPRODUCTION

Black Jaguars or Leopards delivers black or spotted cubs where one among the pair is black. Incase both males and females are spotted, the female delivers spotted cubs. Black panthers are less fertile compared to their spotted relatives, hence less in existence and hard to find in the wild. The gestation period in females lasts 3 months. Once the mating phase is over, the male and female part ways. The litter consists of two to four cubs. The cubs are born with the eyes closed. The female raises the cubs and imprints until they are able to hunt on their own. Usually, it takes two to three months for the cubs to master hunting from their mother. Once the cubs attain the survival instincts, the mother part ways leading them to lead and rule a solitary life and territory within ten months. Black panthers can live up to a period of 12 – 20 years depending on the environmental conditions.

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Gyrfalcon – The Elegant Raptor of the Falcon Family

Gyrfalcons are the largest among the family of falcons. They are ranked third fastest in the bird kingdom after the Peregrine falcon and the Golden Eagle. These birds were considered royal from the medieval age and a has been a pet to the ones in power. Scientifically termed as Falco-rusticolus appears in pure white to dark brown shade, its reign spreads across the Arctic, North America, Europe, and Asia. These majestic birds of prey are commonly found in winter dominated countries (higher altitudes) since they are less font of Mediterranean climate.

Out of all, the white Gyrfalcon is the most alluring one having a snow-white appearance with grey bars on wings and tail. Grey morph is the most common plumage found among the Gyrfalcons across the regions. Gyrfalcons in pure white plumage are confined to the Arctic based on the geography. Measuring 20 -24 inches in length and weighing up to 1.3 kg, these magnificent birds can dive steeply from high altitudes. During the dive, these birds can descent at a velocity of 130 mph with great diving and combat skills adjusting their wings.

Compared to other falcons on a long-distance flight, endurance flying and flapping powered flight are the specialties of the Gyrfalcon with a velocity measuring close to about 55 mph. When it comes to level flying, with long pointed wings intact, Gyrfalcon can be even faster than the Peregrine falcon. Level flying is when these amazing birds skim across steady and clean air with an accelerated wing flapping. When in flight, on hunting, just before hooking, a bit of extra energy is forced to boost velocity and thereby an impulse to have a firm grip on the prey.

For hunting, they require open spaces. Grasslands, valleys and similar landscapes are favorite patrol grounds preferred, swooping for the kill. Having a very sharp vision, these raptors are expert bird hunters. Hoovering around the higher altitudes they wait for the perfect moment to swoop and strike the targeted smaller bird. The claws pierce the prey’s body on gripping and slam it straight to the ground. Apart from birds, they hunt on reptiles, fishes, and rodents.  Where, in the Arctic, Ptarmigans are the favorite prey by these swift skimmers.

Nesting

The nests are usually set up on the high trees and on the edge of cliffs in winter dominated Nations. The breeding phase normally ranges from April to July. The dense nests are made out of thick branches that could withstand strong winds. In a clutch, three to four eggs are a common sight. The males are comparatively smaller by three to four pounds than the female. The male hunts in the vicinity of the nest and usually target smaller birds during the time of breeding. Up to five pounds of the flesh is the normal feeding scale of the Gyrfalcon family during breeding.

Females stores the leftover after the feast and prefer feeding herself and the family on the leftover later sometime. During the winter, when there is scarcity, it has been noticed these birds feeding on the corpse left behind. For a hatchling to take its first flight and the feathers to support the body weight it takes 40 – 50 days. It takes three years for the hatchling to attain maturity and build a nest of its own. There have been scenarios where the Gyrfalcon had been found raising a family in the nests built by higher raptors. The life expectancy of Gyrfalcons is been recorded to be 12 – 13 years.

Gyrfalcon – Falconry

Falconry being a sport for thousands of years, the Gyrfalcons are active members of the group. Falconry is training raptors that are caught or imprinting on a hatchling. It takes 60 days for a raptor to be well trained by an experienced trainer. For some, falconry is a sport and for others, it is a source of earning or in another way a source of living. In certain Nations, Gyrfalcons are the saviors of farmers by protecting the crops and farmlands from crop eater birds and rodents.

The trainers along with the falcon patrols the farmlands chasing and hunting the crop hunters. Grain stores and warehouses protection from crows and sparrows have also been looked upon with falconry as an alternative. In several Nations, the Gyrfalcons for sale are available in the market where one should have a license to own this bird. The government runs inspection on the bird owners to ensure that the birds are well raised and maintained.

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Crested Hawk Eagle – Jewel of Canopy

Description

Crested Hawk Eagles are magnificent raptors found hoovering around the canopies of Southern Asia, Indonesia, Andaman’s, Borneo and Philippines. They have two to three elongated feathers on the head which resembles a crown that provides a majestic look. The elongated feathers grow up to 4 to 5 inches in length. These jewels of prey are scientifically known as Nisaetus cirrhatu. Categorized under the least concern category by IUCN measures up to 28 inches in length with a wingspan of 55 inches. Weighing between 1.2 to 1.9 kg with an equally flexible wingspan, they rule skies of the Asian canopy and are a classified subfamily of booted eagles.

Crested Hawk Eagle, also known as Changeable Hawk-eagle, prefers isolation other than at the mating phase and is found perched up on the high trees keeping a watch on its prey at all-time. Locking eyes on the prey, it descends with great velocity, hooks the targets and ascends back to the treetop for a feast. On the flight, they spread their wings wide and perpendicular to the body which distinguishes them from the Mountain Hawk Eagle. Under pigmentation, juveniles appear in white along the head and under-part. Adults exhibit solid brown white pointed black crest, heavy-brown-streaking from neck to belly and rufous-brown belly. The lifespan of hawk eagles is not been precisely identified to date.  

Species Complex

Species complex term is been provided owing to the variation in pigmentation found among this group of species. Several types of research carried out haven’t been successful in revealing the differences among the crested and related species. Dichotomy and DNA analysis ( mt-DNA cytochrome b & control region sequence) between the related species have also not been able to provide clarity in answering the variations among the crested and crestless group. Flores Hawk-Eagle and Crested Hawk eagles based on these researches have been classified as sister species. Now, Flores Hawk eagles are treated as an individual species. It is owing to the variation in color they are termed changeable hawks. Undertaking the phylogeny approach has also been unsuccessful in answering the taxonomy of wide-ranging changeable hawks.

These birds of prey are normally silent during isolation but readily making calls during the mating phase. The black barring’s present throughout the body acts as a camouflage. The sharp Kri-Kri and Yip-Yip scream calls could be heard up to a distance of 2 miles. They have powerful feathered legs with razor-sharp claws designed purely for hunting. They feed on birds, animals, and reptiles. The beaks are razor sharp and designed to tare flesh at ease. Once the prey is hunted, these eagles spread their wings masking the prey under their wings as an imprint and feed on it whole without sharing in isolation.

Falconry

Changeable Hawk Eagles in some nations are used for falconry, in other words hunting. The changeable hawks are been bred in captivity by breeders to use them for hunting purposes. The newly bred chicks are handfed and trained according to human commands in order to domesticate them for personal pass time. It takes up to 60 days for a trainer to domesticate these birds. Once trained they are used for hunting hares and smaller birds. Falconry is illegal in India but in other Asian countries, it is considered a sport.