Tawny Eagle with a Spiny-tailed Lizard, Tal Chhapar

KP Krishnan

KP Krishnan

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

Opportunistic survival in the grasslands -- a spiny-tailed lizard gets picked up by a buzzard, then an eagle and finally is finished off by some crows!

The Spiny-tailed Lizard (Uromastyx hardwickii) is the only herbivorous lizard in India, and has a wide distribution in small fragmented populations in the dry areas of northwestern India. These lizards hibernate through the winter in their burrows and emerge in spring. In the arid landscapes they habitat, they form a significant prey base for predators especially raptors and small carnivores.

Things didn’t go as per plan for this unfortunate lizard emerging from winter migration in the grasslands of Tal Chhapar. First, it was caught by a skillful Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo). Almost immediately, the buzzard was forced to drop it by a Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax) in a sheer display of power and might. The eagle had almost polished off the kill when a few House Crows (Corvus splendens) chased the large raptor away and finished whatever little was left of the lizard.

Opportunistic survival in the grasslands!

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