Black Baza (Aviceda leuphotes)

Black Baza

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Aviceda leuphotes | [authority] Dumont, 1820 | [UK] Black Baza | [FR] Baza huppard | [DE] Dreifarben-Weih | [ES] Baza negro | [NL] Zwarte Koekoekswouw


Monotypic species


Members of the genus Aviceda are rather small to medium-sized kites (usually called Cuckoo-Falcons or Bazas). Their wings quite long and pointed, the tail is of moderate length and not forked. The edge of the upper mandible has two clearly indicated tooth-like protrusions. They have short, stout legs and feet with well developed talons. Two or three feathers of the nape are elongated as a crest, which is very pronounced in the Black Baza (Aviceda leuphotes) but barely noticeable in the Madagascar Cuckoo-falcon (Aviceda madagascariensis). Adults of the genus are often boldly patterned and barred; the young less so.

Physical charateristics

The Black Baza is a small and distinctively coloured raptor. When perched, the upright crest and contrasting patterns make it difficult to misidentify. The male has white scapulars, secondary coverts and on the secondaries. The female has white only on the scapulars and more chestnut bands on the underside unlike the few bands in the male. In flight it is crow like and is often seen in small groups or flocks during migration. During migration, they are gregarious at their roost. They are somewhat crepuscular and more active at dusk and in overcast weather

Listen to the sound of Black Baza

[audio: Baza.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 66 cm wingspan max.: 80 cm
size min.: 30 cm size max.: 35 cm
incubation min.: 26 days incubation max.: 27 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
      eggs max.: 0  


Oriental Region : widespread in South Asia. The race ?syama? from NE India and E Nepal to S China, winters southwards through Indochina and Malay Peninsula to Sumatra. The race ?leuphotes? occurs in SW India, S Burma and W Thailand, and breeds in several parts of Indochina. The race ?andamanica? occurs in S Andaman Islands. The northernmost populations move southwards through the Malay Peninsula to winter in Sumatra.


The Black Baza occurs in open deciduous or evergreen tropical forest, often around clearings and near streams or rivers. This species can be seen from sea-level up to 1500 metres of elevation. This species breeds between 100 and 1200 metres.
They spend the night at communal roost outside the breeding season, and at this period, they often frequent orchards and gardens near villages and they hunt over the ricefields.


The breeding season varies according to the range, but usually occurs between February and June.
Both sexes build a small compact nest with twigs and thin sticks in a large tree in the forest, between 20 and 30 metres above the ground and often near water. The shallow cup is lined with soft materials such as grass, plant fibres and green leaves. All were composed almost entirely of Lagerstroemia reginae sticks, with a few sal sticks. Both sexes participated in nest-building, incubation, brooding and feeding the chicks.
The female lays 2-3 eggs and the incubation is shared by both parents. The chicks are fed with insects. The incubation period at two nests was 26-27 days. At 21 days old the chicks were frequently seen preening, hopping to nearby branches and flapping their wings.

Feeding habits

They feed mainly on insects by making aerial sallies. They may also pick insects off a leaf, the insects always seized with their feet. They have been observed to attempt capturing small birds such as wagtails by making dashes into flocks. They have been noted to join mixed-species foraging flocks. It has also been known to feed on the fruits of the oil palm. They are somewhat crepuscular in habit.

Video Black Baza


copyright: Alain Fosse


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Black Baza status Least Concern


Migrants from North parts of range move South through Malay Peninsula in Nov-Dec to winter in Sumatra, returning in Feb-Mar. A few migrants recorded in Southeast India and Sri Lanka.

Distribution map

Black Baza distribution range map

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