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Madagascar Cuckoo-hawk
Aviceda madagascariensis

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Stable.

Other Names: Madagascar Baza, Madagascar Cuckoo-falcon, Madagascar Cuckoo Hawk.

Aviceda madagascariensis
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Distribution: Afrotropical. Endemic to MADAGASCAR. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: Forms a superspecies with A. cuculoides and possibly with A. jerdoni and A. subcristata (Sibley and Monroe 1990). The species of Aviceda were originally thought to be related to falcons because of their notched bill, but they are probably most closely related to kites. Wink and Sauer-Gürth (2004) found that they constitute an independent lineage clustering near the base of the Accipitridae in the Gypaetus/Neophron assemblage, based on nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene.

Movements: Non-migratory, but juveniles disperse from breeding areas (Bildstein 2006).

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in all types of forest, including tree plantations (coconut and other palms), from sea level to 1,600 m and is most often encountered at forest edges or around clearings(Langrand 1990). Langrand and Meyburg (1984) reported that it may occur in towns. It usually perches in the interior of trees, rather than on the tops, although it is sometimes seen on an exposed perch (Rand 1936). It rarely soars, although it may engage in display flights over the canopy. It is somewhat secretive and somewhat crepuscular and therefore probably overlooked to some extent (Thorstrom et al. 2003). (more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds mainly on amphibians, but also takes insects and lizards, especially chameleons and geckos, and robs nestlings from nests of other bird species. It captures prey on the ground, on tree trunks, or from foliage after a slow descent from a perch. Rand (1936) noted that these birds fly from tree to bush, lighting in them in search of prey. more....

Breeding: Nesting has been observed from October to November-December (Langrand 1990, Randrianjafiniasa 2009). The latter author found that nests are placed 30 m high in the forks of trees. Males collect nesting materials, which are arranged by the female. Clutch size is 2 eggs, and the incubation period lasts 31 days, with both adults sharing incubation duties. The nestling period is 43 days, with females brooding 76% of the time. Young became independent from the parents at about 86 days of age. more....

Conservation: Apparently uncommon, but occurs throughout Madagascar in suitable habitat. Negatively affected by deforestation (Verdoorn 2000), but presently "not under any great threat overall" (Thorstom and Rene de Roland 2000, Thorstrom et al. 2003). Considered to be Near Threatened by Collar and Stuart (1985) and Morris and Hawkins (1998), but now categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Important References: 
Benson, C.W., J.F.R. Colebrook-Robjent, and A. Williams. 1976.
  [Contributions to the ornithology of Madagascar]. L'Oiseau et la Revue
  Française d'Ornithologie 46:103-134. (In French)
Collar, N.J., and S.N. Stuart. 1985. Threatened birds of Africa and
  related islands: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. Part I. 3rd ed. International
  Council for Bird Preservation and International Union for Conservation of
  Nature and Natural Resources, Cambridge, UK.
Dee, T.J. 1986. The endemic birds of Madagascar. International Council for
  Bird Preservation, Cambridge, UK.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Goodman, S.M., M. Pidgeon, A.F.A. Hawkins, and T.S. Schulenberg. 1997. The
  birds of southeastern Madagascar. Fieldiana Zoology no. 87 (new
Kemp, A.S. 1994. Madagascar Cuckoo-hawk. P. 107 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.
Langrand, O. 1990. Guide to the birds of Madagascar. Yale University
  Press, New Haven, CT.
Morris, P., and F. Hawkins. 1998. Birds of Madagascar: a photographic
  guide. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.
Randrianjafiniasa, D.R. 2009. [Reproductive biology of the Madagascar
  Cuckoo-hawk Aviceda madagascariensis (Smith 1834),
  Accipitridae, in the d'Ambatovaky Special Reserve]. Ph.D. dissertation,
  Universite d'Antananarivo, Antananarivo, Madagascar. 70 pp. (In French with
  English summary)
Thorstrom, R., and L.-A. Rene de Roland. 2000. Status and conservation
  of raptors on the Masoala Peninsula, Madagascar. Pp. 35-41 in R.D.
  Chancellor and B.-U. Meyburg (eds.), Raptors at risk. World Working Group on
  Birds of Prey, Berlin and Hancock House, Blaine, WA.
Thorstrom, R., L.-A. Rene de Roland, and R.T. Watson. 2003. Falconiformes
  and Strigiformes: ecology and status of raptors. Pp. 1080-1085 in S.M.
  Goodman, and J.P. Benstead (eds.), The natural history of Madagascar.
  University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.

Rene de Roland, Lily-Arison

Last modified: 12/5/2011

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2014. Species account: Madagascar Cuckoo-hawk Aviceda madagascariensis. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 17 Apr. 2014

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