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Gabar Goshawk | Melierax gabar

The Gabar Goshawk 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 Gabar Goshawk (Latin name Melierax gabar) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Melierax gabar can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 161 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 511. You will find a picture of the Gabar Goshawk 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.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. The Latin name for this bird is Micronisus gabar in the Roberts 6th Edition.

The Gabar Goshawk is known in Afrikaans as Witkruissperwer (Kleinsingvalk).

The Gabar Goshawk has a height of 36 cms and weighs around 135 gms. The head is coloured grey while the bill is coloured grey. The Melierax gabar has a brown, white coloured throat, red legs and a black coloured back. The eyes are red.

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 red

Throat is brown, white

Back is black

Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

The Melierax gabar 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 Gabar Goshawk 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 Melierax gabar 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 Gabar Goshawk eats the eggs of its victim.

The diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws. The Gabar Goshawk uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

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

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Gabar Goshawk 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 2 to 4 eggs and they are coloured blue.

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

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

The bird is found in the arid and semi-arid regions of Southern Africa and it can withstand high day and night temperatures

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 Gabar Goshawk is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

It is also seen in flocks

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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