Jerdon’s Baza: the Ultimate Guide

If you’ve ever been backpacking through the forest of Asia, then you might have spotted a ghostly bird with dark feathers sticking out the top of its head. Well, if you have, then the chances are that you’ve spotted Jerdon’s Baza.

This creature is a beautiful and deadly hawk, it can often be seen perching on the hunting branch, ready to strike at insects and lizards. This bird will also soar and undulate near the nests, which it does during mating, feeding and recreation.

There are plenty of territories in which you can spy this bird, from Bangladesh to Burma, Thailand to Sumatra, you can spot this hawk up and down Asia.

This bird is also very promiscuous, breeding throughout the year and only taking a month off during the springtime.

So where can you find Jerdon’s Baza? How long does it mate for? What food does it like to eat? Will it be hostile to human beings?

Does it ever go near cities? Where does it migrate to? What are the differences between the male and the female? Where do they live in nature?

Well, if you want to know more about this beast, then we would suggest that you keep reading. This wonderful bird is full of surprises and once you have finished reading this, then you’ll have enough knowledge to wow your friends and family at your next dinner party.

You can even dub yourself ‘the bird expert’!


If you were to see this bird in flight from the ground, one of the first things you’ll notice is the bird’s striking plumage. It has a pure white belly with brown horizontal stripes. This raptor is considered to be a medium-sized bird, with a mighty wingspan that it uses to glide over large distances.

This bird will often like to bare its chest when perching on a branch. It has chestnut-brown wings and back.

The wing base itself is a lot slimmer than a lot of other birds, with feathered legs that make it different from other species of raptor, which do not have feathers on the legs.

It is a lot paler than a lot of other raptors of this kind. Its wings are paddle-shaped, which is used to aid flight and make it much easier to steer its body through the trees.

Male Vs Female

As with all raptors, the female is always bigger than the male. The male lacks the grey underbelly that the females possess. The females also live slightly longer than the males. However, these two are pair-bonding birds and will often mate for life.

Are They Aggressive?

These birds are not that aggressive to humans. They will only really attack a human being if they feel that their eggs or their chicks are under threat. This bird is very aggressive at hunting its prey, often swooping down to pick up small lizards and insects that it likes to eat.

What Adaptations Do They Have?

This bird has barring on its belly that is brown in color and will help it to blend in with the forest area in which it dwells. This will help it camouflage from potential predators and will stop prey from spotting it before it makes its final swoop.

This hawk also has sharp articulated claws that will allow it to spear and carry food across long distances back to the nest. This creature has a hooked beak which also helps it to strip its food of flesh once it has been killed.

Breeding/reproduction Behaviour

This bird is known to be a prolific breeder, mating throughout the year except in the months of April and May. This means that it will be producing eggs all throughout the year.

This bird will typically produce around 2 eggs which they will then incubate for a period of 30 days.

After 70 days, the juvenile birds will be ready to leave the nest, although these birds will often hang out together as a family even when the creatures are fully grown.

The male will often stick around and help with brooding, feeding, nest building and raising the chicks. The male’s task will often be to retrieve food for the female while she is incubating the eggs.

Their Calls/Sounds

There is not much known about the cry of Jerdon’s Baza. It has been heard to emit a very low wail, much like that of a crow or sparrowhawk. It is the noisiest during the mating season when the female emits a long-drawn-out cry to attract a potential mate.

What Do They Eat? (Diet)

This bird will generally eat insects and lizards, as well as grasshoppers. When scientists emptied out the stomach of an adult Jerdon’s Baza, they found the remains of insects such as longicorn beetles and praying mantises.

This bird has often been seen nesting near cities where the food sources are in much more abundance. Those who keep these creatures in captivity feed these birds live insects as it allows the bird to develop their hunting skills.

Where Do They Live? (Habitat)

This bird can often be found in the forests of Asia, often perched on branches in families of 3 to 5. They like to perform aerial sallies in the area, which is their main method of getting prey.

This will hunt in the evergreen forest areas and tea estates of Asia. This animal prefers to live in subtropical areas and will generally stay in the same areas throughout its natural life.

What Are Their Nesting Habits?

The male and the female will build the nest from sticks, often lining it with verdant grass and leaves.

The nest is cleaned by the bird regularly. These birds will also recycle the same nest on occasion, although it is not unknown for Jerdon’s Baza to have around 3 nests during its lifetime.

How long Do They Live? (Lifespan)

This bird will live on an average of 15 – 18 years. The female will live slightly longer than the male. In captivity, this animal has been known to live much longer, sometimes as long as 24 years.

What Predators Do They Have?

This animal is considered an apex predator in its habitat, in that it will have no natural predators. The largest threat to this species is human beings, although there is no significant threat to this animals’ habitat as of late.

This bird can also suffer from collisions with road vehicles if it is flying too close to the ground. It will sometimes come close to the road to feed on roadkill.

It is also susceptible to attack by larger dogs, although the two species will often leave each other alone.

What Are Their Feathers Like?

This bird has largely light feathering, with short and paddle-shaped feathers on the wing. It has larger feathers on the tail, which will help with stability and flight.

This creature is distinctive for having feathers on its legs, which is quite uncommon for a bird of this type.

This bird has feathers on its back, which are very important for helping it blend in with the background. This bird uses camouflage to escape from certain predators and to keep its identity secret from prey.

What Does Their Poop Look Like?

This bird’s poop is traditionally long and stringy. You can find this excrement on the bottom of the trees in which this bird is nesting. It often likes to nest in tall trees to avoid predators attacking it. This bird’s poop has been known to have a very pungent aroma.

Do They Migrate?

This bird will migrate during the winter, often heading to Sri Lanka or the Indian Peninsula. This bird likes to stick in the same region for most of the year due to breeding. It likes to nest in subtropical heat, where there is water and constant sources of food.

Conservation Status

This bird has been reported as being of ‘least concern’, which means that its numbers have dwindled slightly but not in any significant way.

The biggest threat to this bird’s habitat is human encroachment, either through hunting, deforestation or urban expansion into its dwellings.

The population size of this bird is around 6,700 in the wild. Some birds have been bred in captivity in order to increase their numbers in the wild.

Fun Facts

  • This bird is very family-oriented, observers have spotted that this creature often nests in a group of around 3 or 5. Even when they are fully grown, the chicks will often linger near the nests.
  • This bird has a very prominent plume on top of its head. It uses this for mating purposes, the bird having the largest plume being able to attract the most mates.