Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Shikra

Accipiter badius

Photo by Jaysukh Parekh (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
shikra (en); gavião-chicra (pt); épervier shikra (fr); gavilán chikra (es); schikrasperber (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Falconiformes
Family Accipitridae

Range:
This species is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa and through the Arabian Peninsula into southern Asia as far as Azerbaijan, Iran, southern Kazakhstan, north-western Pakistan and through the Himalayas into India, southern China and Indochina.

Size:
These birds are 26-30 cm long and have a wingspan of 55-60 cm. They weigh 75-160 g.

Habitat:
The shikra is found in various wooded habitats, including dry savannas, tropical forests, riparian forests and exotic tree plantations, but also in grasslands, dry scrublands, rura gardens and even within urban areas.

Diet:
They are aggressive hunters that pounce on their prey from a perch, taking lizards, small birds, frogs, large insects, rodents and bats.

Breeding:
Shikras can breed all year round, varying among different parts of their range. They are monogamous, solitary nesters, with both sexes helping build the nest which consists of a bowl made of twigs and lined with bark chips. It is placed on a fork in a large tree branch, often in an exotic tree such as an Eucalyptus. The female lays 1-4 bluish-white eggs, which she mostly incubates alone for 28-30 days. The chicks fledge about 32 days after htching, but onlu become independent 30-40 days later.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and is described as widespread. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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