In December 2008, a Merlin was heading in a low thrush-­like flight towards a small flock of foraging Fieldfares Turdus pilaris and Redwings T. iliacus. The Merlin was detected only when it had already reached the flock, where it grabbed a Fieldfare after a short pursuit. Its flight had been slightly undulating, with the wings held close to the body for short periods of time, just like a thrush. A similar flight strategy was recorded for a Sparrowhawk, in Autumn 2010, when targeting a flock of thrushes. In this instance, the thrushes were being hunted simultaneously by three Sparrowhawks, which added to the confusion. This bird missed a Fieldfare. Copying prey flight when hunting had previously been noted for Sparrowhawks by Jan van Diermen (for Streptopelia decaocto, Picus viridis, Garrulus glandarius, Turdus), and by Rob Bijlsma (Vanellus vanellus, Turdus viscivorus). It may be a rather common hunting strategy, albeit rarely described in the ornithological literature.

De Takkeling

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F. Bijmold. (2013). 'Lijstervlucht' mogelijk jachtstrategie van Sperwer Accipiter nisus en Smellen Falco columbarius. De Takkeling, 21(2), 133–135.