Sunday, 11 August 2013


Black-breasted Buzzard
Hamirostra malanosternon

Cape York, Queensland, Australia

October 13, 2012

Not great shots but I'm posting them for the record. I think I had a wannabe sighting about twenty years ago but this was my first confirmed sighting and only photographic record of this rare species. It was sighted by Michael Atzeni whose voice skyrocketed, "Russ, Buzzard!"

Black-breatsed Buzzard was one of my favourites from the bird guides when I was a kid. It is the third largest of Australia's raptors. It is pretty much absent from the areas I've spent my life but there are supposedly good populations in northern and central Australia.

It isn't related to the buteos of other parts of the world. Australia doesn't have any buteos. I think it was called a "buzzard" because nobody knew what else to call it. It is one of just three raptor species unique to Australia.

It is famous for peculiar behaviour such as using a large rock in its bill to smash down on and break open Emu eggs. I think the only other bird to do similar is the Egyptian Vulture?

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