Two falcons fight for meal, jackal walks away with it
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a vibrant semi-desert, with a surprising abundance of life. It is a place where animals face a daily struggle to find food and water. Amazingly they manage to survive and flourish in extremely difficult conditions. In their quest for survival, wild animals living in this enormous open wilderness area become extremely adaptive to their environment. This can lead to very unusual, innovative and fascinating behavior from all kinds of wildlife species in order for them to be resourceful and opportunistic.
We spend a few hours at a waterhole in the reserve, watching mostly birds coming to the water. Over time, predators and birds of prey have learned that the smaller birds coming to drink in the mornings and afternoons can actually be a great food source for them. Hunting a doves or finches that can suddenly take off with lightning speed when threatened, is a great challenge for the predators and not an easy task. One specific bird of prey that is faster and quicker than most birds is called the Lanner Falcon. These falcons are extremely good aerial hunters. Once a flock of small birds start gathering around the water hole, the falcon would come speeding through the air and swoop over the water hole in attempt to grab a small bird.
We noticed nearby under a tree was a black backed jackal, patiently lying and watching the falcons trying to catch a meal. Suddenly we saw one falcon that managed to grab a bird call a Namaqua dove. What happened next blew our minds. The nearby jackal saw this and surprisingly started running after the falcon, chasing it at full speed. At the exact same time another Lanner falcon came speeding past the jackal, heading straight for the other falcon with the meal in its talons. The one falcon caught up with the other one and it was clear the falcon was making an attempt to steal the dove from the other falcon. The slow motion part of the video shows the dramatic but brief interaction where the first falcon let go of the dove and the second one trying to grab it in the air. The second falcon unbelievably missed its target by a small margin and the dove tumbled straight sown to the ground. Within a flash the jackal was right there and ran straight towards the dropped meal and claimed the prize.
We were absolutely amazed by the fact that the jackal ran after one of the fastest birds of prey in the hope that it might steal the kill from the falcon. How the jackal knew that there was an opportunity to get a meal was just mind blowing and incredible to watch.