Unusal prey of Sharp-shinned (Accipiter striatus) and Cooper’s (Accipiter cooperii) Hawks in Florida

Published in 1998

On 21 February 1999, McNair watched an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus), presumably a female based on its large size, kill a first-year female Lesser Scaup (Aythya afjinis) at Apalachicola, Franklin County, Florida. The hawk approached low over river marshes alongside Scipio Creek which was 100 ft wide (30.5 m) and flushed a flock of ca. 600 Lesser Scaup (first-year and adult birds of both sexes) which were feeding and resting on the water. The hawk pursued a scaup which had separated from the flock. This scaup flew over the marsh which separated Scipio Creek from the broad Apalachicola River toward which the scaup was heading. The Sharp-shinned Hawk, however, turned abruptly and quickly rose above the scaup, forcing the scaup to tum about 90 degrees and veer downward toward the marsh. The hawk quickly descended over the back of the scaup, grasped its neck and base of the head with its talons, and with a mutual flurry of wings, the hawk landed on the ground in the marsh with the scaup underneath it. The Sharp-shinned Hawk remained at the site for at least 15 min but feeding was not observed because marsh grass hid the birds from view.

Author: Douglas B. McNair and Thomas E. Lewis
Volume Number: 44 Year Published: 1998
Issue Number: 2
Page Number: 17

Link to article: http://birdlife.aosbirds.org/1998/Vol. 44 No 2 1998_p17-19.pdf
Link to the full issue of BirdLife: http://birdlife.aosbirds.org/1998/Vol. 44 No 2 1998.pdf