Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Besra

Thai: เหยี่ยวนกกระจอกเล็ก, yiow nok kra-jok lek

Binomial name: Accipiter virgatus, Coenraad Jacob Temminck, 1822

The besra (Accipiter virgatus) is a bird of prey in the family Accipitridae.

The besra is a widespread resident breeder in dense forests throughout southern Asia, ranging from the Indian subcontinent eastwards across Southeast Asia and into East Asia. It nests in trees, building a new nest each year. It lays 2 to 5 eggs.

This bird is a medium-sized raptor (29 to 36 cm) with short broad wings and a long tail, both adaptations to fast manoeuvring. The normal flight of this species is a characteristic "flap–flap–glide", and the barred underwings are a distinction from the shikra, A. badius.

This species is like a darker version of the widespread shikra, but all plumages have a dark vertical throat stripe. The adult male besra has dark blue-grey upperparts, and is white, barred reddish below. The larger female is browner above than the male. The juvenile is dark brown above and white, barred with brown below. It has a barred tail.

In winter, the besra will emerge into more open woodland including savannah and cultivation. Its hunting technique is similar to other small hawks such as the sparrowhawk and the sharp-shinned hawk, relying on surprise as it flies from a hidden perch or flicks over a bush to catch its prey unaware.

The prey is lizards, dragonflies, and small birds and mammals.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Accipitriformes
Family
Accipitridae
Genus
Accipiter
Species
Accipiter virgatus

Common names

  • Thai: เหยี่ยวนกกระจอกเล็ก, yiow nok kra-jok lek

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Besra, Accipiter virgatus in Thailand

Range map of Accipiter virgatus in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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