The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Shikra

Afrikaans name: Gebande sperwer

A Shikra perched on a branch

Shikra

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Accipiter badius

The Shikra was known for many years in South Africa as the Little Banded Goshawk. Although it is found in much of Africa, the Middle East, and south and south-eastern Asia. In South Africa it is found in the north-eastern regions of the country.

It is a common bird that does not migrate. They are normally seen singly while perched high up in a tree. It is quite a vocal bird, and this often gives its presence away.

The Shikra is around 28 cm in length which is about half the length of a Black Sparrowhawk. Their wingspan is about 58 cm. Their upperparts are grey, and their underparts are white covered with fine russet bars. The male has a red eye while that of the female is orange. The bill is black with a yellow cere. The legs and feet are yellow.

Most of the Shikra’s diet is made up of lizards with small birds making up most of the rest. They catch their prey by dropping down on to it from a perch.

Their breeding season runs from September to November. The nest is constructed from twigs and placed in the fork of a tree or on a horizontal branch. Either 2 or 3 dull eggs are laid. The male brings food to the nest for the nestlings but only the female feeds them.

The Hindu word "Shikra" means "hunter" and these birds were widely used by falconers in Pakistan and India.

References and further reading

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 58

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 1

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 64

The Status & Conservation of Birds of Prey in the Transvaal - Author: W. Tarboton and D. Allan - Published: 1984 - Page: 81

The Sandton Field Guide - Author: Sandton Nature Conservation Society - Published: 1982 - Page: 46

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 120

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 112

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 139

Sasol Birds of Prey of Africa and its Islands - Author: Alan and Meg Kemp - Published: 1998 - Page: 166

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 143

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 107

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 115

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 176

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 176

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 86

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Published: 1991 - Page: 64

Eagles, Hawks & Falcons of the World - Author: Leslie Brown and Dean Amadon - Published: 1989 - Page: 518

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 13

Birds of Prey of the World - Author: Friedhelm Weick - Published: 1980 - Page: 98

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 80

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 57

Birds of Prey of Southern Africa - Author: Peter Steyn - Published: 1985 - Page: 172

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 84

An Introduction to the Birds of Prey of South Africa - Author: D.V. Prout-Jones - Published: 1974 - Page: 115

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Published: 1987 - Page: 67

An Introduction to the Birds of Prey of South Africa - Author: D.V. Prout-Jones - Published: 1974 - Page: 54

African Birds of Prey - Author: Leslie Brown - Published: 1970 - Page: 87

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 134

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 134

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 82


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