Photo taken in Keukenhof, Holland, 5-5-2010

Canon EOS 550D, 1/1600 s, f/5.6, ISO 2500, focal point 135 mm

Featured in “The Birds” group, May 2010

The Harrier Hawk, African Harrier Hawk or Gymnogene (Polyboroides typus) is a bird of prey. It is about 60–66 cm in length, and is related to the harriers. It breeds in most of Africa south of the Sahara. The only other member of the genus is the allopatric Madagascar Harrier Hawk.

Its habitat is woodland preferably with palm trees and often near water. It builds a stick nest in the fork of a tree or the crown of a palm tree. The clutch is one to three eggs.

The Harrier Hawk is a medium-sized raptor. The upperparts, head and breast are pale grey. The belly is white with fine dark barring. The broad wings are pale grey with a black trailing edge fringed with a narrow white line. The tail is black with a single broad white band. There is a bare facial patch of variable colour. Sexes are similar, but young birds have pale brown instead grey, and dark brown replacing black.

The Harrier Hawk is omnivorous, eating the fruit of the Oil Palm as well as hunting vertebrates. Its ability to climb, using wings as well as feet, and its long double-jointed legs, enable this bird to raid the hole nests of barbets and woodhoopoes for fledglings. A comparable leg-structure and behavior can be found in the Neotropical Crane Hawk; a case of convergent evolution. The call is a whistled sueee-sueee-sueee.


  • Marjolein Katsma
    Marjolein Katsmaover 4 years ago

    Fantastic shot, Gili! This looks great in B & W, and such wonderful detail.

  • Thanks, Marjolein! I did’t like the dull green background.. lol. Did I get the name right? (you wrote them all down, I noticed;-)

    – Gili Orr

  • Marjolein Katsma
    Marjolein Katsmaover 4 years ago

    I know what background, lol. But I haven’t looked at my own shots of the show in detail yet, I may have 1 or 2 decent shots… Yes I did try to write down names, I may have missed one, and I wrote them all down in Dutch… I’ll check them all as I go through that batch of photos, and try to find both scientific as well as official Dutch and English names – will let you know!

  • I found the right name, finally;-)

    – Gili Orr

  • Fiery-Fire
    Fiery-Fireover 4 years ago

    wow – the shot is amazing, so clear and so dramatic :) Fantastic !!!

  • Thanks a lot, Iwona!

    – Gili Orr

  • anaisanais
    anaisanaisover 4 years ago

    Amazing capture…

  • Thanks!

    – Gili Orr

  • byronbackyard
    byronbackyardover 4 years ago

    Fabulous shot ….. really very interesting and awesome. Love the wingspan.

  • Thanx!!!!!!!

    – Gili Orr

  • Lindie
    Lindieover 4 years ago

    Nice shot! and the B&W is a good choice

  • TeresaB
    TeresaBover 4 years ago

    May 23, 2010

  • Thanks so much again, Tersea!!

    – Gili Orr

  • TeresaB
    TeresaBover 4 years ago

    You are so very welcome Gili. Fantastic shot!!

  • F.A. Moore
    F.A. Mooreabout 3 years ago

    Exceptional, Gili!

  • Thanks a lot!!

    – Gili Orr

  • Qnita
    Qnitaover 2 years ago

    WOW! This is lovely!

  • Thanks!!

    – Gili Orr

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