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African Harrier-Hawk | Polyboroides typus

The African Harrier-Hawk 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 African Harrier-Hawk (Latin name Polyboroides typus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Polyboroides typus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 169 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 505. You will find a picture of the African Harrier-Hawk 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 Gymnogene in the Roberts 6th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the African Harrier-Hawk between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The African Harrier-Hawk is known in Afrikaans as Kaalwangvalk.

The African Harrier-Hawk has a height of 63 cms and weighs around 650 gms. The head is coloured blue, grey while the bill is coloured black. The Polyboroides typus has a grey coloured throat, yellow legs and a blue, grey coloured back. The eyes are brown.

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 blue, grey

Eyes are brown

Bill is black

Legs are yellow

Throat is grey

Back is blue, grey

Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

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 African Harrier-Hawk uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The African Harrier-Hawk 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 3 eggs and they are coloured cream.

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

The African Harrier-Hawk is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The African Harrier-Hawk 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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