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Gabar Goshawk - BirdForum Opus

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Photo by max1
Samburu National Park, north Kenya, September 2017
Micronisus gabar

Melierax gabar


Melanistic form
Photo by PaulJohn
Mata Mata, Kalahari, South Africa, August 2010

28–36 cm (11-14¼ in); female larger than male

  • Broad white rump
  • Grey upper breast
  • Secondaries have white edges
  • Yellow legs in juveniles, red legs in adults

Melanistic birds have red legs and strongly barred wings and tails, but no white edges on secondaries

Similar Species

They look like a small Pale Chanting Goshawk. The melanistic morph is similar to a melanistic Ovambo Sparrowhawk.


Photo by Chris van Rooyen
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, formed from the old Kalahari Gemsbok National Park of SA and the Gemsbok National Park of Botswana, April 2004

Sub-Saharan Africa: widespread but discontinuous range breeding in Senegal, in Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana, and from south Niger and north Nigeria east to Ethiopia and west Somalia. Range extends south through eastern Africa to eastern Angola, Namibia and South Africa. Probaly also breeds in Yemen and south-west Saudi Arabia.

Resident in some parts of range, a short-distance migrant in others. Common in many parts of range.


Some authorities use place this species in genus Melierax.


Three subspecies are recognised[1]:


Juvenile, subspecies gabar
Photo by Paul Tavares
Pilanesberg, Republic of South Africa, March 2007

Open woodland, grassland with scattered trees and scrubland, Acacia thornbush and Brachystegia woodland.


A small swift hawk. Generally found singly or in pairs.


They hunt by darting out from a tree in fast dashes. They catch small birds in flight or trap them in dense vegetation. Prey species range from young Helmeted Guineafowl, francolins and coucals.


Resident in some parts of range, a short-distance migrant in others. Common in many parts of range.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibirds
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved Jan 2018)

Recommended Citation

External Links