Shikra (Little Banded Goshawk) Accipiter badius

The Little Banded Goshawk, or as it is now known, the Shikra, is small raptor (Bird of prey) that is part of the Hawk family, it is a scarce and nomadic resident in South Africa, and is the size of a pigeon. The new name of the Little Banded Goshawk, comes from the Hindi word "Shikari", which means Hunter. Below you will find photograph's and more information on the Shikra.

Roberts Information On The Little Banded Goshawk

The Shikra is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Accipitridae bird family group which includes birds such as Raptors, Old Vultures, Osprey.

The description for the Shikra (Latin name Accipiter badius) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Accipiter badius can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 159 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 514. You will find a picture of the Shikra on page 433.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

This bird is known as Little Banded Goshawk in the Roberts 6th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Shikra between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Shikra is known in Afrikaans as Gebande Sperwer.

The Shikra has a height of 30 cms and weighs around 125 gms. The head is coloured grey while the bill is coloured grey. The Accipiter badius has a grey coloured throat, yellow legs and a grey coloured back. The eyes are red.

The male Accipiter badius has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is grey.

Eyes are red.

Bill is grey.

Legs are yellow.

Throat is grey.

Back is grey.

Photo's Of The Shikra & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult  
Female Adult  
Non Breeding Plumage  


Little Banded Goshawk Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

The Accipiter badius attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten.

This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Shikra strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.

The Accipiter badius attacks smaller birds in flight and uses its sharp claws to break the bird's neck. Some of the birds are attacked in their nests while others are killed on the ground. The Shikra eats the eggs of its victim.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Little Banded Goshawk Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Shikra is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 4 eggs and they are coloured white.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foliage.

The Shikra is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The bird is an urban dweller as well, being at home in parks, gardens and in old vacated buildings.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Shikra is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

It is also seen in flocks.