Birds – The Bazas

Much smaller and quite different in some respects from the last are the Bazas, although the points of resemblance to them are so important that they are regarded as belonging to the same subfamily. They have a very long nuchal crest, composed, however, of but few feathers. The bill is much shorter and stouter than in the Honey Buzzards, and besides being decidedly hooked at the end, has the upper mandible provided with two pronounced teeth or projecting angles. The wings are of moderate length and have the third or fourth quill longest. Some seventeen species are known, ranging from Africa and Madagascar through the Oriental region and parts of the Australian region. The Black-crested Baza (B. Lophotes), a widely distributed species in Oriental countries, is mainly black above, with a white patch on the shoulders, and a white band across the smaller coverts, while the throat is white, the breast blackish, and the remainder of the lower parts buff with ferruginous cross-bars. It frequents the high-tree forests and is somewhat gregarious, although nowhere abundant. It feeds mainly on insects and an occasional lizard. Very little is known of its nidification. There is a handsome species in South Africa known as Verreaux’s Cuckoo-Falcon (B. Verreauxii), which is dark ashy gray above, somewhat shaded with brown, with the sides of the face, throat, and chest clear gray, while the breast is clear white conspicuously banded with pale rufous-brown; the tail is also banded. It is a rare, shy bird, frequenting the dense brush, and feeding on insects.