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Topic: University of Arizona at Tucson
The trouble with shit-hawks – the firespreading raptors of northern Australia

The trouble with shit-hawks – the firespreading raptors of northern Australia

A post that looks at our research into firespreading raptors in the Top End of Australia ... and beyond.

‘Troublemakers for fire’ – Raptors spreading fire in Australian savanna woodlands

‘Troublemakers for fire’ – Raptors spreading fire in Australian savanna woodlands

Fire provides the opportunity for pyrophilic behaviour by some birds. Brown Falcons perch at the fire-front waiting for grasshoppers, frogs, snakes, lizards and small mammals. Whistling Kites and particularly Black Kites, Milvus migrans, spectacularly hawk around the curtain of flame, preying on grasshopper, cockroaches and other small fleeing animals. Local Aboriginal people believe that Brown Falcons and Black Kites set fires by carrying burning sticks to new locations and drop them into dry grass on unburnt grounds.