Birds of Prey Mating Behavior
Date: Saturday, August 31, 2002
Can you please describe the mating rituals of the bird of
prey which forms a rotating ball when in flight with its mate? Is it the
eagle or hawk? This relates to the last section of Andrew Marvell's
"To HisCoy Mistress"--the phrase "amorous birds of prey" etc.
This behavior is not uncommon. The Red-tailed Hawk and other members of
the [Buteo sp.] have been described as mating in a similar method.
Though I have not seen this first hand, a fellow ornithologist described
the one observation he made. He reported the pair of hawks locking
talons at a relatively high altitude and tumbling as they seemingly
joined their cloaca vents. The entire process did not take very much
time for like most birds, the transfer of sperm is expedient.
Many references such as "Biological Abstracts" indexes have
clarifications of this type of behavior.
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Update: June 2012