Shikra

Shikra

(Accipiter badius)

(adult)

Size(26-30cm):It is a small raptor bird which has short and rounded wings with a narrow tail.

Area:Almost all India except higher areas of Jammu and Kashmir (above Jammu).

Habitat:Prefers to live in mild forests and open country. Nowadays it’s becoming more common near human inhabitation.

My two words:Shikra might sometimes be confused with the Chinese Sparrowhawk but has yellow legs and black wingtips.

Adults are ashy-grey above and have a white underside which is barred with close rufous bars. The mesial stripe is dark and narrow. The immature has thick, dark brown streaks on the breast. Female is somewhat larger than the male.

IMG_0935

(immature)

This bird is usually solitary or in pairs. Its diet consists of squirrels, rodents, small reptiles and even smaller birds (like the Common Blue Kingfisher, Jungle Babbler etc.). Usually hunts for itself but sometimes might descend to feed on carrion and carcasses.

IMG_7747

(immature with thick and dark brown streaks on the breast)

Generally gives 3-5 pale blue-grey eggs. The eggs take roughly 18-24 days to hatch.

Its method of hunting is very interesting. It would hide in leafy branches of the tree and pounce on the prey with surprise and have sumptuous meal. It can be normally seen soaring above the trees of forests.

(Adult Shikra hiding in tree waiting for its prey)

It gets its name from the Arabic word ‘Shikari‘(شِکاری) which means ‘hunter’.

 ~Arjun Basandrai

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