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Besra - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Joe Pan
Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia
Accipiter virgatus


24–36 cm (9½-14¼ in)

  • Ashy blue-grey upperparts
  • White below crossed barred with rusty brown
  • Dark vertical throat stripe
  • Short broad wings
  • Long tail

Female is larger and has browner upperparts
Juvenile: dark brown upperparts

  • White underparts, barred brown
  • Barred tail


South Asia from Pakistan and India to south China and Indonesia.



There are 11 subspecies[1]:

  • A. v. affinis:
  • A. v. fuscipectus:

Artwork by tuck.hong
  • A. v. besra:
  • A. v. abdulalii:
  • A. v. nisoides:
  • A. v. confusus:
  • A. v. quagga:
  • Philippines (Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Samar, Siquijor and Mindanao)
  • A. v. rufotibialis:
  • A. v. vanbemmeli:
  • A. v. virgatus:
  • A. v. quinquefasciatus:


Dense montane forests; in winter open woodland (preferably with large trees) including groves, savanna and cultivated areas.



They nest in trees, building a new nest each year. The clutch consists of 2-5 eggs.


Their diet consists mostly of birds with the addition of dragonflies, lizards and mammals.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. AvianWeb
  3. BF Member observations
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved September 2016)

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