Shikra

Accipiter badius

The Shikra is a small bird of prey in the family Accipitridae found widely distributed in Asia and Africa where it is also called the Little Banded Goshawk. The African forms may represent a separate species but have usually been considered as subspecies of the Shikra. The Shikra is very similar in appearance to other sparrowhawk species including the Chinese Goshawk and Eurasian Sparrowhawk.
hunter looking at you shikra - Accipiter badius Accipiter badius,Geotagged,India,Shikra,Winter

Appearance

The Shikra is a small raptor and like most other ''Accipiter'' hawks, this species has short rounded wings and a narrow and somewhat long tail. Adults are whitish on the underside with fine rufous bars while the upperparts are grey.

The lower belly is less barred and the thighs are whitish. Males have a red iris while the females have a less red iris and brownish upperparts apart from heavier barring on the underparts. The females are slightly larger. The mesial stripe on the throat is dark but narrow.

In flight the male seen from below shows a light wing lining and has blackish wing tips. When seen from above the tail bands are faintly marked on the lateral tail feathers and not as strongly marked as in the Eurasian Sparrowhawk. The central tail feathers are unbanded and only have a dark terminal band. Juveniles have dark streaks and spots on the upper breast and the wing is narrowly barred while the tail has dark but narrow bands.

A post juvenile transitional plumage is found with very strong barring on the contour feathers of the underside. The call is ''pee-wee'', the first note being higher and the second being longer. In flight the calls are shorter and sharper ''kik-ki ... kik-ki''. The Chinese Sparrowhawk is somewhat similar in appearance but has swollen bright orange ceres and yellow legs with the wing tips entirely black.
Shikra || Hampi || July 2018
https://www.facebook.com/MohammedSalmanPics/ Accipiter badius,Shikra

Habitat

The Shikra is found in a range of habitats including forests, farmland and urban areas. They are usually seen singly or in pairs. The flight is typical with flaps and glides. During the breeding season pairs will soar on thermals and stoop at each other. Their flight usually draws alarms among smaller birds and squirrels. Their calls are mimicked by drongos and this behaviour is thought to aid in stealing food by alarming other birds that the drongos associate with.
Asian Shikra From my archives
Place: Bengaluru  Accipiter badius,Geotagged,India,Shikra,Summer,avian

Reproduction

The breeding season in India is in summer from March to June. The nest is a platform similar to that of crows lined with grass. Both sexes help build the nest, twigs being carried in their feet. Like crows, they may also make use of metal wires. The usual clutch is 3 to 4 eggs which are pale bluish grey stippled on the broad end in black. The incubation period is 18 to 21 days.
My neighbour  Accipiter badius,Accipiter nisus,Black-shouldered Kite,Elanus axillaris,Eurasian Sparrowhawk,Geotagged,India,Shikra

Food

They feed on rodents, squirrels, small birds, small reptiles and insects. Small birds usually dive through foliage to avoid a Shikra and a Small Blue Kingfisher has been observed diving into water to escape. Babblers have been observed to rally together to drive away a Shikra. They will descend to the ground to feast on emerging winged termites, hunt at dusk for small bats and in rare instances they may even resort to feed on carrion. In one instance a male was found feeding on a dead chick at the nest.
Shikra Female  Accipiter badius,Fall,Geotagged,Shikra

Cultural

The Shikra was a favourite among falconers in India and Pakistan due to the ease with it could be trained and was frequently used to procure food for the more prized falcons. They were noted for their pluck and ability to take much larger birds including partrigdes, crows and even young peafowl. The word ''shikra'' or ''shikara'' means hunter in the Hindi language and was used in the French name ''Le Chicquera'' which was however given to the Red-necked Falcon by Levaillant in 1799.

An Indian Navy's helicopter base was named INS Shikra in 2009.
The shikra is also the mascot for the 149 Squadron of the Republic of Singapore Air Force, which operates the F5S/T Tiger IIs fighter jets.

References:

Some text fragments are auto parsed from Wikipedia.

Status: Least concern
EX EW CR EN VU NT LC
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassAves
OrderAccipitriformes
FamilyAccipitridae
GenusAccipiter
SpeciesA. badius
Photographed in
India
Sri Lanka