Shikra (Accipiter badius)

loading
Shikra stretching wings
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Shikra fact file

Shikra description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderFalconiformes
FamilyAccipitridae
GenusAccipiter (1)

The shikra is considered to be the commonest small hawk of dry woodland and savanna in Africa and India (2). The adult male shikra is smaller than the female with a striking red eye, pale grey plumage above and barred chestnut feathers below. In contrast, the adult female is darker and browner, with a deep-orange eye. The immature can be identified by the black stripe on the throat, the brown, drop-like streaking on the breast, the barring on the flanks, and the yellow-brown eyes (2) (4). A noisy species, the shikra typically produces a loud, piercing “kitoukitou” call (4). There are six subspecies of shikra, which can be distinguished by size, the extent of brown colouration in the upperparts and rufous in the underparts, and by geographical location (2).

French
Epervier shikra.
Size
Length: 30 cm (2)
Top

Shikra biology

An aggressive hunter, the shikra mainly hunts from a perch, making a short dash through the branches to snatch prey from tree trunks, foliage or the ground (2) (4). This forceful, surprise attack is usually sufficient to catch the lizards and small birds on which the shikra feeds, although on rare occasions it may engage in aerial pursuits. Other prey taken by this species include nestlings, eggs, bats, rodents, frogs and insects (2).

The shikra’s breeding season varies significantly according to location, but most commonly occurs at the end of the dry season. Populations breed between March and August in Sri Lanka; between January and June in India; January and May in west and north-east Africa, probably throughout the year in East Africa, between August and January in southern Africa, and in late May in Azerbaijan (2). Prior to nesting, the shikra is highly vocal and engages in soaring displays (2) (4). Two to four eggs are laid in a small stick nest lined with bark flakes, which is placed in the outer fork of a horizontal tree branch. Incubation lasts for around 30 to 35 days according to location, with fledging occurring around 32 days later (2).

At the end of the breeding season, shikra populations located at the northern edge of its global range make a southward migration, some heading south-west to Arabia, but most travelling to Pakistan, India and south-east Asia. In other parts of its range, this species is resident throughout the year, although some seasonal movements occur in Africa (2).

Top

Shikra range

The shikra has a large range, extending throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, India, and central and south-east Asia, as far as Thailand and Vietnam. This species is also found in the Arabian Peninsula, with native populations occupying Saudi Arabia and introduced populations occurring in the United Arab Emirates. The five subspecies of shikra inhabit separate parts of this range: Accipiter badius cenchroides is found in Azerbaijan, east to Kazakhstan, and Iran, east to north-west India; Accipiter badius dussumieri occupies central India and Bangladesh; Accipiter badius badius occurs in south-west India and Sri Lanka; Accipiter badius poliopsis is found in north-east India, east to southern China, and south to Thailand and Vietnam; Accipiter badius sphenurus inhabits Senegambia, east to south-west Arabia, and south to northern Democratic Republic of Congo and northern Tanzania; and Accipiter badius polyzonoides is found in southern Democratic Republic of Congo and southern Tanzania, south to northern South Africa (2).

Top

Shikra habitat

The shikra inhabits a variety of wooded habitats, including deciduous closed-canopy woodland, savanna, small plantations of exotic trees, and urban parks and gardens (2) (4). This species can also be found in areas of arid steppe grassland (2).

Top

Shikra status

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

Top

Shikra threats

With a very large global population, estimated at one million birds in 2009, and no major threats at present, there is little concern for the shikra’s survival. (2) (5). Indeed, this species is believed to be potentially capable of tolerating total deforestation within its habitat, and readily adapts to cultivated or urban areas (6).

Top

Shikra conservation

There are no known conservation measures in place for the shikra, it is common and widespread (1) (2).

Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi is a principal sponsor of ARKive. EAD is working to protect and conserve the environment as well as promoting sustainable development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
Top

Find out more

To learn more about raptor conservation visit:

For more information on this and other bird species please see:

Top

Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk
Top

Glossary

Steppe
Natural grassland with low rainfall.
Subspecies
A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.
Top

References

  1. IUCN Red List (July, 2009)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1994) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume Two: New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. CITES (July, 2009)
    http://www.cites.org
  4. Grewal, B., Harvey, B. and Pfister, O. (2003) A Photographic Guide to the Birds of India: and the Indian Subcontinent, including Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.
  5. BirdLife International (July, 2009)
    http://www.birdlife.org
  6. Thiollay, J. (1993) Response of a raptor community to shrinking area and degradation of tropical rain forest in the South Western Ghats (India). Ecography, 16: 97 - 110.
X
Close

Image credit

Shikra stretching wings  
Shikra stretching wings

© Mark Hamblin / gettyimages.com

Getty Images
101 Bayham Street
London
NW1 0AG
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 800 376 7981
sales@gettyimages.com
http://www.gettyimages.com

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Shikra (Accipiter badius) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

This species is featured in:

This species is featured in Jewels of the UAE, which showcases biodiversity found in the United Arab Emirates in association with the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog