The shikra (Accipiter badius)
|Copyright: Syed Abid Hussain (Hussain58)
|Date Taken: 2015-06-27|
|Exposure: f/6.3, 1/640 seconds|
|More Photo Info: [view]|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2015-07-31 7:51|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Photographed this bird almost a month back on June 28th, 2015 at Government Degree College No.1, Dera Ismail Khan where I am currently serving as a principal.This is probably a female juvenile shikra(Accipiter badius)sunning on a dead Indian Rosewood trunk.It was a hot June day and I spotted this juvenile pair which has made my college its home for quite some time now.Whenever I have the time, I am on the look out for this pair with my assistant Munir Hussain. We know their favourite perches in their favourite trees. I also do film them and have once filmed the female with its prey which was a male domestic sparrow.Their aerial acrobatics are worth watching inside the college once they are on the hunt.My chowkidar told me that he spotted six shikras inside the college in the late afternoon once perhaps their parents or next of kin might have paid a visit but I found it hard to get any clues about this social gathering. He also told me that there was no fight and our pair was ultimately left alone.I consider it a blessing that we have this resident pair in our college and I often see them bathing in the earthen water pots which I have left for them in three lawns of my college.|
The shikra (Accipiter badius) 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. They have a sharp two note call and have the typical flap and glide flight. Their calls are imitated by drongos and the common hawk-cuckoo resembles it in plumage.
The shikra is a small raptor (26–30 cm long) 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 (yellowish orange) 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 (underwing coverts) 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
Taxonomy and systematics
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Abid bhai, you are a good story teller. Enjoyed your personal observations.
The picture may not be really top notch since we don't see the eye of the bird which we consider of paramount importance. Other than that, that typical fanning out of the plumage is quite impressive.
Very happy to see you posting again.
- [2015-07-31 10:06]
Great to see you back!
Very nice photo of this Shikra with eye contact, excellent sharpness in the plumage and beautiful natural colours.
- [2015-07-31 10:12]
Hi Syed,interesting post about this specie not often seen on TN,a difficult perspective but not for you as i can see,the quality of sharpness is very very high,very well done! Have a nice weekend and thanks,Luciano
Abid sahib. I do like the image especially the fanning out of the plumage in its natural habitat. Birds are difficult to photograph and I usually try to focus on the eye but many times it's just not possible.
Thanks for the story and the excellent note on Shikra. Thanks for sharing.