Pacific Baza: The Ultimate Guide

Appearance

The Pacific Gaza is a medium-sized hawk that is characterized by a protruding crest. More often than not, the Pacific Baza is usually slim-bodied (although external and biological factors can sometimes make them larger-bodied) and features a smaller head and neck.

As for the wings, the Pacific Baza features uniquely shaped wings that resemble paddles, and they are usually very rounded with plenty of feathers.

The eyes are usually piercing and yellow, while the feathers are often a mixture of brown, grey, and white. Sometimes, a bluish-hue can even be spotted in more mature Pacific Bazza’s, although this is not common.

Male Vs Female

The differences between male and female Pacific Bazas are not overly striking, although there are some differences to note.

While the head, neck, and breast areas of both male and female Pacific Bazas are often grey, with the underparts a vibrant white with standout brown/black banding, the female Pacific Baza are often far browner in color and heavier than male Pacific Bazas.

Nevertheless, despite this small difference, both genders of this interesting species of bird tend to have legs that are on the shorter side, with weak toes.

As for the eyes, as we’ve already mentioned above, the Pacific Baza has distinct golden-yellow eyes that give them a “beady” appearance, and this can be seen in both males and females.

Are They Aggressive?

Despite being a bird of prey, Pacific Bazas are not known to be particularly aggressive birds and are rarely hostile towards humans.

Instead, they are more solitary birds that prefer to weave their way through tree-tops and other kinds of obscure foliage, in order to catch prey off-guard and stay out of sight of any predators.

Nevertheless, despite being relatively solitary and quiet birds, they will attack if they feel threatened, or if they feel as though their nest is being threatened.

In some instances, a Pacific Baza will also display aggressive behaviors towards other kinds of birds (including their own) in order to show signs of dominance. 

What Adaptations Do They Have?

Despite having relatively short legs and weak toes, the Pacific Baza is a cunning bird that utilizes plenty of strategy in order to survive. Creatures of habit, the Pacific Baza will often stay out of the way of predators by weaving quietly in and out of the tops of rainforest trees.

While hunting, these clever birds are known to play the long game, and will often wait for many hours, perched upside down on a branch while waiting for unsuspecting prey to appear.

Once they do, these birds will spring into action and somersault to catch their prey, and will sometimes even fall onto foliage to make insects crawl out!

They have long, sharp beaks that help them to pick up their prey, while their long, powerful wings allow them to soar the skies for hours. 

Breeding / Reproduction Behaviour

Despite being relatively solitary birds, these birds will often meet up in groups of around nine, and this is widely considered to be most seen during the breeding season.

During breeding time, these birds will pair up with another, where they will then take to the skies during nesting time. Pacific Bazas will circle and swoop in their pairs, to extremely high heights, calling to each other while somersaulting through the air.

Once finished, both the male and female will then work as a team to build the nest, incubate the eggs, and then feed for their young once born.

Their Calls / Sounds

The Pacific Baza is not an overly vocal bird, and for large periods of time, they will refrain from vocalizing.

However, during the breeding season, which is from September through to March, these birds are known to whistle out “we-choo” to attract a partner, and will also more frequently vocalize little whistles while flying and nest-building. 

What Do They Eat (Diet)

Pacific Baza

Amongst all birds of prey, it can certainly be said that the Pacific Baza has one of the most unique diets you’ll likely come across!

Besides hunting what you might expect (such as small rodents and frogs) this cunning bird doesn’t shy away from variety and is known to commonly hunt for grubs, invertebrates, and even stick insects!

They also hunt in very strategic ways, and will often fly into the foliage to disturb the insects inside and cause them to crawl out into the open, where these birds can then strike.

Alongside that, the Pacific Baza has also been known to hang upside down on trees while waiting for unsuspecting prey, to which these birds will somersault to catch them quite often in mid-air.

Where Do They Live (Habitat)

Found mainly in rainforests and eucalypts, the Pacific Baza is a solitary bird that likes to stay out of harm’s way.

It is a species of bird that is most commonly found in northwestern Australia, all the way from the Fitzroy River towards the McArthur River, and can even be found living around the Gulf of Carpentaria, as well as the Cape York Peninsula.

In some rare instances, this distinctive species of bird will even find its way down to mainland Sydney and are usually attracted to areas that have plenty of foliage and water. 

What Are Their Nesting Habits

While building nests, both the female and male counterparts will help each other during the process, working as a team to get the nest built as quickly as possible. The nest usually resembles a cup and is often quite flimsy in creation.

It is often built with green leaves that twigs, and often lasts for around two seasons of the year before needing to be re-built.

Often, the nest will be placed around 15-30 meters above the ground, so that their young are safely hidden from predators, while also allowing the paired Pacific Bazas to take turns incubating their eggs out of sight.

After the young have been born after a period of around 33 days, the female Pacific Baza will attend to the young and nest, while the male Pacific Baza will concentrate on bringing in food for the mother and babies.

After around 35 days, the babies will leave the nest, and the parents will make sure that they protect the young during this entire fledgling period from predators and swooping attacks. 

How Long To They Live (Lifespan)

While more research is needed to accurately give a lifespan of the Pacific Baza, it is considered that they are able to live for a period of 15 years or more while in the wild. 

What Predators Do They Have?

Despite their strategic tendencies, the Pacific Baza is at risk of being hunted by a variety of larger birds, including hawks and falcons.

Interestingly, in some instances, Pacific Bazas will even turn on their own, but this is only ever usually seen during desperate times, such as food shortages.

What Are Their Feathers Like?

Typically, the upper body of the Pacific Baza, regardless of gender, will feature grey-blue feathers that are predominantly brown-hued. The feathers on the head are often lighter in color with a blue/grey hue, and the throat and upper breast area are usually grey.

The underbelly of the Pacific Baza is often bold white or cream with a black band, and the flight feathers are often dark blue and grey, with black bars all the way throughout.

What Does Their Poop Look Like?

Much like other types of bird, the Pacific Baza’s poop is often runny in texture when fresh, and contains a white mucus coating that will solidify after a short period of time.

Do They Migrate?

No, the Pacific Baza is not a bird that typically migrates. As an omnivore, it means that they enjoy a varied diet that ranges from small rodents all the way to stick insects – so they’re not afraid to switch up their diet when times get tough.

Needless to say, the Pacific Baza will occasionally choose to migrate in search of food or due to particularly adverse weather conditions, and if they do, they will usually travel in a small group of no more than 10. 

Conservation Status

At the time of writing this guide, the Pacific Baza is not currently deemed as a concern, as their conservation status classification is currently “Least Concern” which means that they are not at risk of extinction.

Even though their population is not currently on the rise (this could very well change) their population is at a stable rate.

Fun Facts

Baby Pacific Baza chicks are usually covered in white down.

They are one of the only birds of prey to have bright yellow eyes!

Despite being solitary animals, the Pacific Baza will occasionally congregate in groups of no more than 9 or 10.

During nesting season, pairs will somersault and soar through the air while calling loudly to one another.

Unlike any other bird, Pacific Bazas will hang upside down while waiting for prey, and then somersault through the air to catch jumping grubs still in the air!