Alice Springs Desert Park

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A large dark coloured raptor, the Black-breasted Buzzard (Hamirostra melanosternon) is endemic to mainland Australia.

The Black-breasted Buzzard is one of the popular attractions at the Free-flying Birds Show in the Alice Springs Desert Park Nature Theatre.

Common throughout most of its range, it is known for its special skill in cracking eggs. Whilst the Black-breasted Buzzard can break smaller eggs easily with its bill before retrieving the content of the egg, it uses its ingenuity to break open larger eggs, that may be tougher to open. Holding a small rock in its bill, the buzzard is seen to hurl the rock at the egg to break repeatedly until it breaks the egg open, before eating the contents.

The Black-breasted Buzzards can be seen soaring up high and then gliding low, as they look for prey including ground birds, rabbits, lizards and carrion. They can glide at speed, snatching their prey not only from the ground, but also from trees and in the air.

Images © Dorothy L / Images © Ausemade Pty Ltd


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  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Genus: Hamirostra
  • Species: H. melanosternon
  • Binomial name: Hamirostra melanosternon

Footnote & References

  1. Black-breasted Buzzard, Birdlife Australia, https://www.birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/black-breasted-buzzard
  2. Black-breasted Buzzard, Australian Museum, https://australian.museum/learn/animals/birds/black-breasted-buzzard/