restricted access Kestrel and hawks
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African Goshawk L: 38–46 cm (15–18") |WS: 70 cm (28") A medium-sized hawk with yellow eyes and legs, grey-brown upperparts and brown-barred underparts: its size, grey cere (fleshy area around the nostrils) and dark rump are distinctive . Immatures (right) like other young hawks, but usually show white eyebrows and spots (not bars) on the throat . Scarce in Kruger, where it seems to prefer riverine forest, hunting for medium-sized birds such as francolins and doves (occasionally rodents and insects) . Its presence is often revealed by its sharp “chwik” aerial display call, given every 2–3 seconds for over a minute at a time, sometimes well before dawn . Little Sparrowhawk L: 25 cm (10") |WS: 39–52 cm (15–20") This is one of the world’s smallest hawks and its tiny size should prevent confusion with other similar species, although the white spots on the tail are also diagnostic in both adults and juveniles . An uncommon, secretive and inconspicuous resident of riverine forest and thicker bush in Kruger . It is an extremely rapid flyer, able to twist and turn through seemingly impenetrable thickets, where it takes small birds, other vertebrates and insects . Shikra L: 28 cm (11") |WS: 48–68 cm (19–27") A small grey-and-white sparrowhawk with brown-barred underparts . The unmarked upper tail and vibrant eye-colour (deep red in the male, dark orange in the female) distinguish it from other small hawks, but good views are required to be certain . The immature is brownish and has a distinctive dark vertical throatstripe , but lacks the white rump of the immature Gabar Goshawk . A common resident in Kruger, hunting lizards, insects and other small prey from perches and occasionally on the wing . Rock Kestrel L: 32–39 cm (13–15") |WS: 68–79 cm (27–31") This kestrel is mostly chestnut above with black spots, and with a grey head, black-banded grey tail and black tips to the wings . Immatures are browner and streakier than adults with a more barred tail . The plumage of the scarce migrant Lesser Kestrel (not illustrated) differs more obviously between the sexes: adult males are unspotted above and have a blue-grey wing panel, whereas females are heavily barred and look very similar to Rock Kestrel . The Rock Kestrel is an uncommon breeding resident in Kruger, most often encountered north of Shingwedzi . It hunts from a perch or from the air, where it characteristically hovers, preying on small birds, mammals, reptiles and insects . Kestrel and hawks: 1 immature 196 BIRDS OF PREY AND VULTURES shikra little sparrowhawk shikra little sparrowhawk african goshawk adult rock kestrel 197 Lizard Buzzard L: 36 cm (14") |WS: 63–79 cm (25–31") A small, stocky, greyish hawk with a distinctive pale throat marked by a vertical black stripe . It most similar to Gabar Goshawk, both having a broad white rump band in flight, but the throat streak, a pale band across the middle of the tail, and pale tail tips are diagnostic of the Lizard Buzzard . Despite its name, it is most closely related to sparrowhawks, but is shorterlegged and has a more powerful build . This species is an uncommon resident in Kruger, with an estimated population of 500 individuals . It is most frequently seen perched in the open, watching for prey, favouring grassland areas where it takes skinks, lizards, small snakes and other small vertebrates, and insects . Gabar Goshawk L: 36 cm (14") |WS: 56–66 cm (22–26") A small, slender, greyish hawk with a distinct grey head and chest and grey-barred underparts, and a dark bill and eyes (immatures are brownish – streaked on the breast and barred on the belly – and have pale eyes) . It is most easily confused with smaller sparrowhawks, despite being most closely related to the chantinggoshawks , and also resembles the Lizard Buzzard, although it lacks that species’ throat streak and distinctive tail band . A scarce, nearly all-black (melanistic) form comprises 6–14% of individuals in Kruger . This is a common resident in the park, with numbers increasing in March–July following an influx of immature birds, possibly related to post-breeding dispersal from elsewhere . A supreme bird hunter, both from perches and on the wing, it terrorizes waterholes and nesting colonies of weavers, queleas and bishops . Hawks: 2 normal form melanistic form gabar goshawk lizard buzzard 198 Dark Chanting-Goshawk L: 56 cm (22") |WS: 86–104 cm (34–41") Chanting-goshawks are large, tall, long-tailed and longlegged , slaty-grey...