Black Baza: the Ultimate Guide

If you’ve ever wandered through the forests of India or China, then you might have noticed this very small raptor nesting in the trees. The Black Baza is a bird that is abundant in numbers, roosting in clusters in the trees.

These birds also forage with other species of bird, which is quite a rare occurrence in the animal kingdom. They usually hunt during the late hours or during the night, occasionally operating in overcast weather. They have a call that is very similar to that of the cuckoo.

But where can you find this bird in the wild? What is the mating pattern of the Black Baza? What adaptations have they developed to hunt animals in the wild? Are these animals hostile to human beings? How does this animal sound when it is trying to mate? Where do they live? How long do they live for?

Well, if you want the answer to all of your Black Baza questions and more, then we would suggest that you keep reading. If you want to slowly work your way through the encyclopedia of birds, then this is a great place to start. One you have done reading this, you’ll have everything that you need to know about this amazing species.


This animal is a raptor with a very vibrant color. If you notice it perching on a branch, the first thing that will strike you is the contrasting crest on its belly. The male has a slightly different patterning to the female, with white scapulars on its pelt.

Another very noticeable thing about this bird is the quiff protruding from the back of its head. This animal then has a grey pelt across the back and on the feathers. If you see it flying from below, you’ll be able to see the distinctive white and black pattern on the underside of its wings.

This bird has black eyes with a hooked beak that makes it ideal for hunting. It often uses the beak to hook through the meat and separate it from the bone to make it easy for digestion. This bird also has claws that are adapted for this occasion too.

Male Vs Female

As with a lot of birds of this type, the female is often bigger than the male. The male is generally lighter in color than the female, having white on the scapulars, whereas the female has a slightly darker color on the underside of her wings.

Are They Aggressive?

This bird is not very aggressive and will often coordinate with other birds in order to forage for food. This bird will rarely attack humans and would rather flee its nest than stay and fight larger birds such as buzzards, hawks and human beings.

What Adaptations Do They Have?

These birds have a ‘tooth’ on the upper mandible, in much the same way as the double-toothed kite. This helps with hunting and chewing through the flesh of their prey. This bird also has a hooked beak that will help it sear through flesh too.

This bird has rather large claws, which will help it carry food across vast distances. It will use the hooked talons on its feet and its beak to tear through the prey. This is also important for removing bones so that it can feed its chicks.

Breeding/Reproduction Behaviour

This bird will breed during the months of spring, usually starting in April and March and concluding in July and August. This raptor will then give birth to a clutch of around 3 eggs that it included for a period of around 6 weeks.

The chicks will then get born and will be ready to leave the nest after a month of hatching.

This male and the female will often bond for life, although there have been some instances where males practice polygamy, setting up families with more than one female.

Their Calls/Sounds

The Black Baza has a shrill-like call that some observers have described as a soft squeal or a mewing that sounds a lot like a gull.

This bird is quite a chatty one, often crying late into the night, which can be quite disturbing if they are nesting near urban areas.

This bird will often cry the most during mating season. This is when the birds will deliver a ‘ku-weep’ sound to their mate. Often the female will signal the male, who will then do an aerial display in order to attract the female.

What Do They Eat? (Diet)

This bird will mainly feed on insects using aerial sallies, which is when they swoop over and bombard the prey. They snatch the insects with their beaks, sometimes taking them directly off the leaf. However, if they are hunting on the ground they will always use their feet to hunt.

They can also gang up and rush at much smaller birds, although this is largely for the purpose of stealing their food.

This bird is rare in that it can team up with birds of another species in order to enhance their foraging runs.

Where Do They Live? (Habitat)

This bird can often be seen in forested areas of China, the eastern Himalayas and parts of Northern India. Their habitat range is a lot smaller than a lot of other raptors, which might make it harder to spot this creature in the wild.

This creature will often breed in areas of Burma and India. It prefers to nest in the high trees in order to keep its eggs away from predators and to get a better vantage point for insects on the forest floor.

What Are Their Nesting Habits?

The male and female will often build the nest together out of twigs. The nest is quite small, big enough to accommodate the parents and the 3 or 4 chicks that will hatch. The nest is often lined with leaves and routinely cleaned in order to get rid of parasites and bacteria.

This nest is made of thin sticks with an indentation in the center.

How Long Do They Live? (Lifespan)

The lifespan of these creatures is very difficult to determine accurately because they are very hard to observe in the wild. It is estimated, based on the lifespan of similar species, that this animal only lives to around 9 years old.

Again, based on estimates of other species, it is suspected that the female often lives slightly longer than the male.

What Predators Do They Have?

This bird has a few predators such as larger hawks and eagles that live in the area. This bird is very fast and can get away from predators quite quickly.

Another threat to the Black Baza is domestic dogs. Attacks on these birds by domestic dogs has increased, mainly due to these birds approaching urban areas.

What Are Their Feathers Like?

This bird has very soft and downy feathers which are very short. They are barred on the belly, with the tail being quite short for a bird of this size and type. This has a similar wingspan and tail length to a crow, which this bird is often mistaken for.

The feathers of this bird will help it to blend into the forest environment where it lives. The grey on the back and wings helps it to blend into the evening, which is when it largely comes out to hunt and breed.

What Does Their Poop Look Like?

The poop of this bird is very stringy and white and can often be found hanging from the branches of this bird’s nest. If you are looking to track the movements of this rare bird, then we would suggest that you look for any droppings that you can find on the trees.

Do They Migrate?

This creature will migrate to various parts of India during the winter months. It has been seen on the Indian Peninsula and on the coast. It has also been seen in areas such as the Western and Eastern Ghats when the months get colder.

This creature will not migrate vast distances and often stays within the country of its birth.

Conservation Status

Although this bird is only found in dense concentrations, it is not considered to be under threat, given the status of ‘least concern’ by wildlife authorities. The main threat to this bird is human encroachment into its environment.

There have been cases where this bird has migrated into an urban environment which has led to a large increase in numbers. The main threat to this bird in the city is dogs and cats that often like to hunt them.

Fun Facts

  • This bird has been said by observers to have a very pungent odor that has been described as smelling like bugs.