Bazza enjoys a feed

A young Pacific Baza feeding on a grasshopper.

The bird which we are covering in today’s column is called the Pacific Baza. For many years, this bird had been known as the Crested Hawk no doubt because it is a Hawk with a crest on the top of its head.

Although I haven’t been able to confirm where the name ‘Baza’ originated, there is obviously an overseas name for a bird similar to ours. The part of the name ‘Pacific’ defines the area where our bird inhabits.

As well as across the eastern and northern part of Australia, it is found on a number of closer Pacific Islands such as the Solomans, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

The Baza is a slim, medium-sized member of the Raptor’s Group which grows to about 40cm in length. Other distinguishing features are the bars across the lower breast and stomach and its long tail.

My first experience with the Baza was a piece of good fortune. As I was driving home on a rough bush road one day, I spotted a young Baza on a low branch of a nearby tree, feeding on a grasshopper it had caught. Without moving too close, I was able to take a few good shots.

A friend told me of a high Baza’s nest on his property but even climbing on the roof of a shed, I didn’t have any success.

I took the illustration here at another friend’s place.

The Bazas had a nest quite high in a tree there which was mostly covered with leaves and other foliage.

The parent birds would bring back some food item and land on a nearby branch before flying to the babies.

Quite a lot of times, the parent would land in very dark areas but not always as the photo shows.