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African Goshawk
Accipiter tachiro

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Declining.

Other Names: 

Accipiter tachiro
click to enlarge
Distribution: Afrotropical. SUDAN, southern SOMALIA, and northwestern ETHIOPIA south through ANGOLA, NAMIBIA, East Africa, and MOZAMBIQUE to eastern and extreme southern SOUTH AFRICA; PEMBA, ZANZIBAR, and MAFIA IS. more....

Subspecies: 5 races. A. t. croizati: Southwestern ETHIOPIA. A. t. pembaensis: TANZANIA (Pemba Is.); A. t. sparsimfasciatus: SUDAN and SOMALIA south through East Africa, ZANZIBAR and southeastern ZAIRE to northern ANGOLA, northern ZAMBIA, northern MALAWI, and northern MOZAMBIQUE; A. t. tachiro: Southern ANGOLA, southern ZAMBIA, southern MALAWI, and southern MOZAMBIQUE south to SOUTH AFRICA; A. t. unduliventer: Highlands of ETHIOPIA and SUDAN. more....

Taxonomy: This form and its component races have been lumped with A. toussenelii by many authors, including Stresemann and Amadon (1979), Amadon and Bull (1988), and Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001). However, Kemp and Crowe (1994) found morphological differences between the two groups, and there is possibly a zone of overlap in the Democratic Republic of Congo (a view disputed by Louette 2002). In various papers, Louette (2003, 2007) has argued that these populations comprise a single species, but based on several lines of evidence, Clark and Davies (2000) favored treating the two groups as separate species, and their view is followed here, pending molecular studies.

Movements: Irruptive migrant (Bildstein and Zalles 2005).

Habitat and Habits: A forest hawk, occurring in dense forests and woodlands, especially moister areas, virtually throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Like other African Accipiter species, it exploits plantations of exotic trees. Usually highly secretive and rarely seen away from cover, except when engaging in noisy aerial displays (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2006). Occurs singly. more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Preys on most small vertebrates, including squirrels, rodents, bats, a wide variety of birds, snakes, lizards, chameleons, frogs, and large insects. Typically hunts from a concealed perch, dashing out to chase prey. Reflecting the pronounced reversed sexual size dimorphism in this species, the male probably takes smaller bird species than the female.

Breeding: Breeding has been recorded from September-April in southern Africa, peaking slightly earlier in the southernmost portions of the range (Allan 1997). Egg laying in Zimbabwe (Irwin 1981) and the Transvaal (Tarboton et al. 1987) spanned September-November with an October peak. Builds a small stick nest well hidden in foliage, often among epiphytes. Some nests are re-used, sometimes for many years. Both members of the pair build or refurbish nests. Clutch size is 2-3 eggs, which are white and unmarked. The incubation period is 30 days, and the young fledge about 35 days later. They remain in the vicinity of the nest for two or three months before achieving independence. more....

Conservation: Widespread and common throughout its range. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Important References: 
Allan, D.G. 1997. African Goshawk. Pp. 228-229 in J.A. Harrison et al.
  (eds.), The atlas of South African birds. Volume 1: Non-passerines. BirdLife
  South Africa and Avian Demography Unit, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Brown, L.H., E.K. Urban, and K. Newman. 1982. The birds of Africa. Vol. 1.
  Academic Press, London.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Kemp, A.C. 1994. African Goshawk. P. 146 in del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, and
  J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New World
  vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Steyn, P. 1982. Birds of prey of southern Africa: their identification and
  life histories. David Phillip, Cape Town, South Africa.

Sites of Interest:
Additional African Goshawk photo.

Breman, Floris

Last modified: 5/15/2014

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2022. Species account: African Goshawk Accipiter tachiro. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 27 Jan. 2022

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