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Australasian Hawk

Australasian Hawk
Photo Information
Copyright: Jason Searle (Mazer) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 65 W: 3 N: 34] (104)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-12-09
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 20D, Canon EF300mm 4/L IS, Tiffen Haze 1
Exposure: f/4, 1/160 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): New Zealand Raptors, Australasian Hawk [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-01-24 23:33
Viewed: 5568
Points: 34
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Australasian Hawk is a large brown hawk with long fingered wings held in a V, and a long slightly rounded tail. The very dark brown juvenile has a prominent white patch on the back of the head, brown upper tail and brown eye. The adult has a distinctive pale facial disc with head and upperparts dark brown. Underparts are reddish brown streaked dark brown and underwings are barred at the tips. The light brown tail is barred dark brown and the upper tail is white. Males have a yellow eye and the females a pale yellow eye. As they become paler with age some very old males can be seen with frosty-grey upperparts, pale buff underparts and white underwings. Harriers are usually silent except for an occasional whistle but in the breeding season during display flights the male utters a high – pitched ‘kee-a’ to which the female responds with a ‘kee-o’.

Harriers hunt by day by slow quartering the ground followed by a dive attack or by briefly hovering and then dropping vertically to catch their prey in their sharp talons. They eat both carrion (sheep, possums, hedgehogs, waterfowl and other game birds) and live prey, mainly small mammals especially rabbits, hares, hedgehogs, rats, mice, small birds, ducks and eggs, frogs, fish, lizards and large invertebrates such as grasshoppers and crickets.

Breeding is between September and February. The bulky nest of sticks, bracken, manuka, grasses and rushes is usually sited on the ground in raupo swamps, bracken-fern, clumps of pampas or on road verges. Over a period of days 3 – 5 off white eggs are laid and incubated by the female for 31 – 34 days. The eggs hatch over a few days so some eggs and the youngest chick often don’t survive. Although the male gathers food for the female and chicks, only she feeds the chicks. They fledge at 43 – 46 days old and finally disperse about 7 weeks after fledging.

Vital Statistics

Conservation Status: Protected Native
Mainland Status: Widespread and locally common
Size: 55cm, 650g (males) 850g (females)
Life Span: Oldest recorded in NZ: 18 years
Breeding: September - December
Diet: Carrion and live prey

pauljk, loot, elefantino, Argus, horia, Bufo, shirgold, Tamrock, vanderschelden, jaycee, RAP, simon182, marhowie, coasties, elizabeth has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

incredible action capture! great focus. very nice

Hi Jason,
Bang on in-flight. Hard to fault. Excellent camera work.

great capture, well done, TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • badar Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 106 W: 0 N: 160] (785)
  • [2007-01-25 1:15]

Hi Jason,
Great flight capture, the intensity of his eyes seeks your attention.
Badruddin Ali

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2007-01-25 1:27]
  • [3]

Hi Jason

Wow, shooting photos of birds in-flight from the side, while they are moving past you, is difficult enough as it is, but shooting a bird in-flight coming towards you and still being able to retain the details and astonishing definition as you did on your photo is nothing short of remarkable brilliance. I am spellbound by this photo and the perfect presentation.

The camera work is incredible since the slowish shutter speed did not give you any room for error or movement. Yet, you have captured the bird with amazingly sharp focus while you also show the stunning movement in the wing tips. Bear in mind that a hawk in mid-flight coming towards you is really a very small target to aim at and still get everything to work out so well. The colours are splendid, that perfectly complimentary BG is totally OOF, and the exposure was brilliantly spot-on.

Intense and utterly dazzling work, TFS.

Jason, what a shot!
So sharp and detailed.
The pose is amazing and you managed this shot at top level.

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-01-25 3:05]

Hi Jason

I can even imagine how difficult this was...
I know i only have a compact capera, with a very slow AF, so even the most simple and normal in-flights are out of the question for me, but this one here - closing in on you - is definately fantastic!
The sharpness achieved here is really great and i especially like all the details on the hear, peaking with those bright, contrasting eyes that simply stand out so well!
The colors are also lovely and the contrast with the BG (very beautiful as it is) is also very good.
Wonderful composition and presentation, too.

Bravo and TFS

Hi Jason,
Excellent shot. I love the way the hawk look, very alert and agile. You have captured the eyes and head in perfect focus and the composition and position of the bird in it are very good.
TFS - Shir

Hello Jason,

Excllent capture of this wonderful inflight shot, perfect details with a nice blured bg, excellent work

TFS Kyle

very good with fine sharpness
and great feeling!

That is an art work.
A wonderful, wonderful in flight!
So nice with the blurred forest background.
The bird is busy turning to the right, right towards you which makes it so good. Together with the long wings and the green reflection and so forth it is a very impressive image.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-01-25 10:57]

Hi Jason,

Wonderful action shot of the Hawk. Great details - looks as if he is glaring at you.



  • Great 
  • RAP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2524 W: 345 N: 2373] (7405)
  • [2007-01-25 12:46]

Esta es una verdadera maravilla de captura en pleno vuelo Jason con espectacular punto de vista realzado por la gran agudeza y el ajustado pero eficiente DOF (sólo el extremo del ala aparece fuera de él).
A pesar de la escasa velocidad, la iluminación impacta sobre el ave mostrando excelentes detalles del mismo.
Muy buen contraste con el fondo logrado.
Un gran ejemplo de foto en acción... sin dudas.
Un cordial saludo desde Buenos Aires... Ricardo

This is a true marvel of capture in middle of flight Jason with spectacular point of view enhanced by the great sharpness and the tight but efficient DOF (the end of the wing only appears outside of him).
In spite of the slow speed, the lighting impacts on the bird showing excellent details of the same one.
Very good contrast with the achieved bottom.
Great example of picture in action... without doubts.
A cordial greeting from Buenos Aires... Ricardo

Absolutely outstanding photo of in-flight entertainment...

You've got an amazing photo here. Obviously the work of a photographer who knows exactly what he's doing.
The bird is so sharp, and at a comparatively slow shutter, he must have been cruising fairly slow for this to have occured with all the detail intact, or you tracked him so well you knew the precise moment. Either way perfect.

To have him staring directly at you adds even more. The lighting emphasises him brilliantly especially against the blurred and dark background.

A superb creature taken with superb skill.



Hi Jason

This shot has real 'wow' factor. Simply stunning!

Hello Jason,

Wow, what a great flight capture. Marvelous. Perfect details and naturel colours. It splendidly the two wingtips has been spread out. A very nice BG and POV. It is a perfect shot and your notes are also interesting. Well done. Regards and TFS Bob

Totally stunning in all respects! The OOF background really makes the bird stand out and the bird itself is tack sharp.

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