Observation of the Week, 4/27/17

Our Observation of the Week is this duo of Green Marsh Hawk Dragonflies, seen in Indonesia by @oldman19510!

Steve Jones was an aviculturist for most of his life, having lived in Australia and is now retired and residing in Bali. “[I was] always trying to identify any bird species (in Australia) that I came across in the wild, I wanted to identify birds here in Bali so I bought a field book and binoculars,” he explains. “I then started photographing birds with the aim of getting all Bali birds and have 265 species on [my] eBird life list.”

However, with his birding lens in the repair shop for awhile, Steve says “I started taking close-up and macro with a Canon SX 50 and a couple of iNat members suggested that I record my findings and so this is what I do.”

After iNat user @briang helped Steve identify a Green Marsh Hawk eating a Ditch Jewel, he began to get more interested in Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies), which led him to the sequence shown in this post. “When I saw these two flying together (but not in mating position) I followed,” he recalls. “Predator was able to fly quite strongly with his victim and when he had placed his prey on a suitable perch, he started feeding in earnest. The victim never put up any resistance, perhaps a bite to the neck when captured would have been a near fatal blow.”

Green Marsh Hawk dragonflies (Orthetrum sabina) range through much of the Eastern hemisphere, from Australia through North African and southeastern Europe and are, like all dragonflies, strong predators. I asked briang about this particular observation, and he notes that “Cannibalism among dragonflies is not uncommon in some species. That being said, I don't believe cannibalism accounts for the majority of a species' diet (at least in species I've observed)--it seems to be more of an opportunistic prey choice.” He says many will take tenereal (freshly-emerged) dragonflies, but that these two look to be both adult males. “It's possible the prey was in tandem with a female and thus an easier target or maybe he was just unwary and the other male saw an opportunity...I would have loved to see how this interaction went down.”

“My hobby is photography – nature is the subject,” explains Steve. “I now have a greater appreciation of nature and am amazed at what I see on a daily basis. The luck is finding something interesting to photograph but the challenge is to try to identify each species before I post and look to iNat for conformation or correction.”

He continues to explore his new home (like birding Mt. Agung, in the above photo), and says that “Indonesia has such a huge potential for finding something rare or unusual. I am now planning to travel to other islands and look forward to what can be found.”

- by Tony Iwane

- There are more than 300 observations in the “Odonata - eating” Project. Check them out!

- If you wanted actual video of a Green Marsh Hawk devouring the head of another odonate, then you’re in luck! Here’re two: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enMQ6HRi9TA and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOX-mlbJxmY

Posted by tiwane tiwane, April 28, 2017 01:25


Is it also known as Variegated Green Skimmer?
I saw one near my office in Jan this year.

Posted by christinechua over 4 years ago (Flag)

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