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A photo of a Shikra (Accipiter badius)
Shikra

Shikra

Accipiter badius

The Shikra, a small bird of prey from the Accipitridae family, is a widespread resident across Asia and Africa. It is often referred to as the little banded goshawk. Exhibiting a sharp silhouette, the Shikra is a dexterous hunter, cloaked in grey upperparts with a finely barred rufous and white underside.

Identification Tips

Adult Shikras can be identified by their short, rounded wings and somewhat long, narrow tail. Males boast a striking red iris, while females have a yellowish-orange iris and display heavier barring on their underparts. A dark, narrow mesial stripe adorns the throat. In flight, males reveal light wing linings and blackish wingtips, while the tail bands are more pronounced in the Eurasian sparrowhawk.

Habitat

Shikras adapt to a variety of habitats, including forests, farmlands, and even urban environments. They are typically solitary or found in pairs.

Distribution

This raptor's range extends from Senegal and Gambia to southwest Arabia, south to north Tanzania, and north DR Congo, with subspecies scattered across Asia and Africa.

Behaviour

Shikras are known for their characteristic flight pattern of flaps and glides. During the breeding season, they engage in aerial displays, soaring on thermals and performing stoops. Their presence often triggers alarm calls among smaller birds and squirrels.

Song & Calls

The Shikra's call is a distinctive two-note "pee-wee," with the first note higher and the second longer. In flight, their calls become shorter and sharper, resembling a "kik-ki."

Breeding

The breeding season occurs from March to June in India. Shikras construct nests similar to crows, lined with grass, and both sexes contribute to building. They typically lay a clutch of 3 to 4 pale bluish-grey eggs, stippled with black at the broader end.

Similar Species

The Shikra can be confused with the Chinese goshawk and Eurasian sparrowhawk but can be distinguished by its unique call and flight pattern.

Diet and Feeding

Shikras prey on rodents, squirrels, small birds, reptiles, and insects. They are opportunistic hunters, sometimes diving to the ground for termites or hunting small bats at dusk.

Conservation status

The Shikra is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating a stable population across its extensive range.

Shikra Sounds

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