African goshawk

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African goshawk
African goshawk.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Bilateria
Branch Deuterostomia
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Class Information
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Aves
Sub-class Neornithes
Infra-class Neoaves
Order Information
Superorder Passerimorphae
Order Accipitriformes
Infraorder Falconides
Family Information
Family Accipitridae
Sub-family Accipitrinae
Genus Information
Genus Accipiter
Species Information
Species A. tachiro
Population statistics
Conservation status Least concern[1]

The African goshawk (Accipiter tachiro) is a bird of prey from the family Accipitridae, and found over much of southeastern Africa, and one of the most common birds of prey on the continent.[2]

Description

African goshawks are blueish-gray above, with a whitish underside accentuated by fine light tan to rufus horizontal barring. The eye color is dark, and ringed in yellow. Females are somewhat larger than males, with an upper weight of 18 ounces and a wingspan of 10.8 inches, versus 12 ounces in weight and 8.9 inch wingspan for males.

Juveniles are somewhat darker in appearance, with no yellow around the eyes and dark spots on the chest.

Subspecies

  • Accipiter tachiro pembaensis; Tanzania (Pemba Island)
  • Accipiter tachiro sparsimfasciatus; Somalia to northern Congo, Angola, Zambia and Mozambique
  • Accipiter tachiro tachiro; Southern Angola to Mozambique and South Africa
  • Accipiter tachiro unduliventer; Ethiopia

Diet

African goshawks prey on small birds up to the size of domestic chickens and hornbills; to a lesser degree it will also prey on small mammals (rodents and bats), small reptiles, toads, and insects. It is an ambush hunter, sitting on a concealed perch before swiftly capturing the prey animal. Paired goshawks will hunt cooperatively at large gatherings of prey animals.

Reproduction

African goshawks are monogamous. During courtship the displays are aerial, with one or both calling loudly while performing undulated flights and steep dives.

Females build the nest, which is constructed of sticks and twigs, lined with leaves, pine needles, or lichen. It is placed on a branch of a tree concealed by dense foliage some distance away from the trunk; sometimes an old nest of another species is taken over and used. Eggs are laid between July and December, and incubated primarily by the female for 35–37 days. The chicks are fledged in 30–35 days, but are still dependent on the parent birds for a further six weeks.

Threats

Both the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) and the black goshawk (Accipiter melanoleucus) have been recorded as active predators against the African goshawk. As to man, habitat loss and agriculture has been cited as a reason for a decline in numbers for this species; despite this, African goshawks has shown some resiliency, as they are able to take advantage of these changes.

References