An acrobatic falcon swoops in on a group of unsuspecting doves only to grab one in mid-air and eat it.
Wildlife photographer Ernest Porter shared this sighting with LatestSightings.com after waiting many years to capture this perfectly timed image.
Lanner falcons are widely found in Africa, Asia, and Southeast Europe. Being able to spot one of these agile hunters of the skies is not a rare occurrence. However, seeing these diurnal birds in full flight on the hunt is something many wildlife lovers yearn for.
Ernest has been after this site for years and was eager to capture it all on camera. Hoping to tell a story. “When you can tell the story from the subject’s viewpoint instead of as an observer, it becomes magic.”
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“One morning, whilst on a game drive in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, searching for the perfect photographic opportunity, we found ourselves at a waterhole busy with the local doves that inhabit the pans surrounding this water source. Birds, particularly doves, are water-dependent and require access to water. So, finding them was not tough in this desolate landscape.”
“A Falcon! Could this be the moment I’ve been waiting for? Would today be the day? It took me three years to finally capture this. A Lanner Falcon is hunting at full speed and successfully taking out a dove through my lens. A moment I could not believe. The whole thing happened so fast.”
Have you ever seen a falcon catch a dove in mid-air?
“When I first downloaded this photo, I was perplexed for a split second… then I saw it. The confusion created by the dove right behind the target dove illustrates these falcons’ challenge when hunting at water holes in Kgalagadi. Hundreds of doves gather at the waterhole. This is a defence mechanism for them, making it difficult for the falcon to single out and focus on one dove.”
Lanner falcons are diurnal creatures. They are frequently seen hunting in groups or occasionally alone. Their main target species for prey are other birds, and they take mainly bird prey in flight.
“The target dove blends with the dove behind it, making them look bigger and obscuring the dove’s shape. “This is what the falcons have to deal with while hunting… this is the true story of life and death in Kgalagadi.