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Gabar Goshawk
Micronisus gabar

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Stable.

Other Names: Melierax gabar.

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Micronisus gabar
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Distribution: Afrotropical. SENEGAMBIA and ETHIOPIA and southwestern ARABIA south to SOUTH AFRICA. more....

Subspecies: 3 races. M. g. aequatorialis: Highlands of ETHIOPIA south to ZAIRE, ZAMBIA, and northern MOZAMBIQUE; M. g. gabar: Southern ANGOLA, ZAMBIA and MOZAMBIQUE south to SOUTH AFRICA; M. g. niger: SENEGAMBIA east to northern ETHIOPIA, ERITREA, and southwestern SAUDI ARABIA south to northern CAMEROON, CHAD and SUDAN. more....

Taxonomy: Sometimes placed in the genus Melierax (Stresemann and Amadon 1979, Kemp 1986, Sibley and Monroe 1990, Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2006), but probably more closely related to Accipiter.

Movements: Partial migrant, with juveniles dispersing from breeding areas (Bildstein 2006). There is a regular north-south migration in the northern part of its range between breeding and non-breeding areas. Sedentary in southern Africa, including Zimbabwe (Irwin 1981, Hartley 1998), although there may be wider dispersal by immatures and some local wandering.

Habitat and Habits: Widespread in savannas, open woodland, thornbush, and steppe habitats; absent only from dense forest and the driest deserts. Most common in drier (Acacia) thorn savanna, including riparian habitat. In the southern Arabian Peninsula, it is found in areas of thornbushes, acacia woodland, foothills, scruba areas, and agricultural plantations (tumarick, mango, orage) (Jennings and Sadler 2006). In southern Africa, it is less prone to take advantage of plantations of exotic trees than the Accipiter species (Allan and Tarboton 1985), but occurs in cultivation with tall trees in the moist and well-wooded Kampala region of Uganda (Carswell et al. 2005). It is also colonizing urban areas in some parts of its range (Allan and Verdoorn 2000). Usually encountered singly, or in pairs, perched in a concealed locations in the upper branches of a tree. more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds on small birds and contents of bird nests, specializing in the robbing of weaver nests. Most avian prey are sparrow- to thrush-sized, but birds up to the size of a Crested Francolin (weighing 238 g) have been taken (Tarboton 1990). Also takes small mammals, reptiles, and insects. Strikes from cover, but also may pursue prey into bushes. Sometimes hunts in pairs or shares hunting with a Red-necked Falcon (Malan and Jenkins 2000). Its hunting techniques are more similar to those of accipiters than to the chanting goshawks. more....

Breeding: Builds a stick nest typically placed in the top of a thorny tree. Curiously, the birds add a live spider's web of a particular species, and it grows over the hawk nest by the time the chicks are fledged. This is presumably for camouflage purposes. The female does all of the incubation and brooding, while the male provides food for her and the chicks. Clutch size is 2-4 eggs, which are white and unmarked, although often bearing nest stains. The incubation period is 33-35 days, and the young fledge after an additional 35 days (Tarboton 1990). more....

Conservation: Widespread and common throughout open habitats of most of sub-Saharan Africa. The spread of Acacia-type habitats in some former grassland areas has probably extended the range of this species. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Important References: 
Boshoff, A.F. 1997. Gabar Goshawk. Pp. 230-231 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. Gabar Goshawk. Pp. 144-145 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:
Gabar Goshawk photos.

Simmons, Rob

Last modified: 10/4/2010

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Gabar Goshawk Micronisus gabar. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 25 Sep. 2020

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