Kingbird on the back of red-tailed hawk

A brave kingbird hopped onto the back of a huge red-tailed hawk and pecked at its head in a bid to defend its young.

Although small, the species can become very aggressive in the breeding season, especially when larger predators come calling.

This one easily saw off the hawk that ventured too close to its nest. After jumping onto its back, it dug its tiny talons into its opponent's feathers and drilled at its skull relentlessly.

The two birds soared through the skies, with the kingbird clinging on despite the hawk's valiant attempts to shrug it off.

The stunning attack lasted a few minutes until the predator gave up and soared away shrieking.

The amazing moment was captured by amateur photographer Michael Parrish at a nature reserve at Elwood near Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

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