Species of Thailand

Besra

Accipiter virgatus, Coenraad Jacob Temminck, 1822

(In Thai: เหยี่ยวนกกระจอกเล็ก)

The besra, also called the besra sparrowhawk (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 maneuvering through dense vegetation. The normal flight of this species is a characteristic "flap–flap–glide".

This species is like a darker version of the widespread shikra with darker upperparts, strongly barred underwing, broader gular stripe and thin long legs and toes. The adult male besra has dark blue-grey upperparts, and is white, barred reddish brown below. The larger female is browner above than the male. The juvenile is dark brown above and white, barred with brown below. In all plumages have 3-4 equally sized dark bands on uppertail.

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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Category / Seasonal Status

BCST Category: Recorded in an apparently wild state within the last 50 years

BCST Seasonal statuses:

  • Resident or presumed resident
  • Non-breeding visitor

Scientific classification

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

Common names

  • Thai: เหยี่ยวนกกระจอกเล็ก

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Range Map

Distribution map of Besra, Accipiter virgatus in Thailand
  • Ban Bueng District, Chonburi
  • Bang Saphan Noi District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Doi Lang
  • Doi Lo District, Chiang Mai
  • Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park
  • Doi Phu Kha National Park
  • Doi Saket District, Chiang Mai
  • Doi Suthep - Pui National Park
  • Hang Chat District, Lampang
  • Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Dinsor (Chumphon Raptor Center)
  • Khao Laem National Park
  • Khao Luang National Park
  • Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Khlong Lan National Park
  • Khun Chae National Park
  • Ko Chang National Park
  • Kui Buri National Park
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Mae Wong National Park
  • Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi
  • Mueang Ratchaburi District, Ratchaburi
  • Nam Nao National Park
  • Nong Bong Khai Non-Hunting Area
  • Pa Sang District, Lamphun
  • Pak Thale
  • Phimai District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Phu Khiao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phu Soi Dao National Park
  • Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi
  • Sai Yok National Park
  • Sakaerat Environmental Research Station
  • Samut Prakan Province
  • Tat Mok National Park
Range map of Accipiter virgatus in Thailand