The Gymnogene

untitled2

The Gymnogene.
(Polyboroides typus)

During the last few game drives I have been privy to watching two Gymnogene/African Harrier Hawks building their nest. Here are a few facts about this interesting bird:

These big raptors are usually solitary, feeding mainly on reptiles, amphibians, birds and nestling’s.

When in courtship flight female rolls over in air and touches talons with male.

The most unusual feature of the Gymnogene is the knee joint which is completely different to what we would imagine to be normal. This specially adapted joint allows the leg to bend in all directions, unlike all other birds of prey, whose lower legs can move in one direction only. This flexible joint makes it possible for the Gymnogene to put its foot into a nest-hole of a woodpecker or other bird, then move the claws around inside to grab hold of the chicks.

Its yellow cheeks, blush red when excited!

Will keep you informed as to whether or not I see any young chicks in the future!

Hailey Bunge



Leave a Reply