During the breeding season, pairs form which may last for a number of seasons. The spectacular courtship display involves the male flying in circles at a great height over the breeding area before falling close to the ground, performing elaborate sequences of tumbles. Occasionally the female may join him, and the pair lock talons and tumble through the air together. As the season progresses the male may be seen dropping food into the female's talons in mid-air (4). The nest, which may measure up to 80cm in diameter, is constructed on the ground with grass, reeds and sticks by the female. 3-8 eggs are laid from late April, and both parents contribute to feeding the chicks (2). Hunting occurs at a height of 2-6 meters above ground; when prey is located the bird suddenly drops down with its talons outstretched. Food taken includes small mammals and birds, carrion and sometimes insects, frogs and fish (2).
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