Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Shikra

Thai: เหยี่ยวนกเขาชิครา, yiow nok khao chi-khlaa

Binomial name: Accipiter badius, Johann Friedrich Gmelin, 1788

The shikra (Accipiter badius) is a small bird of prey in the family Accipitridae found widely distributed in Asia and Africa where it is also called the little banded goshawk. The African forms may represent a separate species but have usually been considered as subspecies of the shikra. The shikra is very similar in appearance to other sparrowhawk species including the Chinese goshawk and Eurasian sparrowhawk. They have a sharp two note call and have the typical flap and glide flight. Their calls are imitated by drongos and the common hawk-cuckoo resembles it in plumage.

Identification

The shikra is a small raptor (26–30 cm long) and like most other Accipiter hawks, this species has short rounded wings and a narrow and somewhat long tail. Adults are whitish on the underside with fine rufous bars while the upperparts are grey. The lower belly is less barred and the thighs are whitish. Males have a red iris while the females have a less red (yellowish orange) iris and brownish upperparts apart from heavier barring on the underparts. The females are slightly larger. The mesial stripe on the throat is dark but narrow. In flight the male seen from below shows a light wing lining (underwing coverts) and has blackish wing tips. When seen from above the tail bands are faintly marked on the lateral tail feathers and not as strongly marked as in the Eurasian sparrowhawk. The central tail feathers are unbanded and only have a dark terminal band. Juveniles have dark streaks and spots on the upper breast and the wing is narrowly barred while the tail has dark but narrow bands. A post juvenile transitional plumage is found with very strong barring on the contour feathers of the underside. The call is pee-wee, the first note being higher and the second being longer. In flight the calls are shorter and sharper kik-ki ... kik-ki. The Chinese sparrowhawk is somewhat similar in appearance but has swollen bright orange ceres and yellow legs with the wing tips entirely black.

Taxonomy and systematics

Several subspecies are recognized across its range and some of them may be treated as full species. It has been suggested, based on differences in morphology and calls, that the African forms do not belong to this species. Subspecies cenchroides (Severtzov) is larger and paler and found in Turkestan, Afghanistan and eastern Iran. The Indian population dussumieri is resident on the plains and lower hills (up to 1400 m in the Himalayas). The nominate form is found in Sri Lanka and has somewhat darker grey upperparts. The Burmese shikra A. b. poliopsis may represent a distinct species. The population on Car Nicobar Island, earlier treated as a subspecies butleri and that on Katchall Island, obsoletus are now treated as a sub-species within a full species, the Nicobar sparrowhawk (Accipiter butleri). The west African population A. b. sphenurus is migratory while the southern African A. b. polyzonoides is more nomadic in its movements. In Asia only A. b. cenchroides is migratory.

Ecology

The shikra is found in a range of habitats including forests, farmland and urban areas. They are usually seen singly or in pairs. The flight is typical with flaps and glides. During the breeding season pairs will soar on thermals and stoop at each other. Their flight usually draws alarms among smaller birds and squirrels. They feed on rodents (including Meriones hurrianae), squirrels, small birds, small reptiles (mainly lizards but sometimes small snakes) and insects. Small birds usually dive through foliage to avoid a shikra and a Small Blue Kingfisher has been observed diving into water to escape. Babblers have been observed to rally together to drive away a shikra. They will descend to the ground to feast on emerging winged termites, hunt at dusk for small bats (such as Cynopterus sphinx) and in rare instances they may even resort to feed on carrion. In one instance a male was found feeding on a dead chick at the nest. Their calls are mimicked by drongos and this behaviour is thought to aid in stealing food by alarming other birds that the drongos associate with.

The breeding season in India is in summer from March to June. The nest is a platform similar to that of crows lined with grass. Both sexes help build the nest, twigs being carried in their feet. Like crows, they may also make use of metal wires. The usual clutch is 3 to 4 eggs (when eggs are removed they lay replacements and one observer noted that they could lay as many as 7 in a season) which are pale bluish grey stippled on the broad end in black. The incubation period is 18 to 21 days.

In culture

The shikra was a favourite among falconers in India and Pakistan due to the ease with it could be trained and was frequently used to procure food for the more prized falcons. They were noted for their pluck and ability to take much larger birds including partrigdes, crows and even young peafowl. The word shikra or shikara means hunter in the Hindi language (the male was called chipak or chipka based on call)

The word Shikra is borrowed from the Urdu word (شِـكْـره) which is derived from the word shikari (شِكارى) meaning hunter. Hunting in Persian and Turkish is referred to as shikar (شِـكار), and in Arabic the hunt master in the Mamlook Era was known as Ameer Shikar (أمير شِـكار). The word Shikari may also be used in English in the sense of "hunter". In "The return of Sherlock Holmes" by Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes says: "I wonder that my very simple stratagem could deceive so old a shikari" (The Penguin complete Sherlock Holmes, 1981, pp. 492, 494).

The word is also used in the French name Le Chicquera which was however given to the red-necked falcon by Levaillant in 1799.

An Indian Navy's helicopter base was named INS shikra in 2009.,

The shikra is also the mascot for the 149 Squadron of the Republic of Singapore Air Force, which operates the F5S/T Tiger IIs fighter jets.

This article uses material from Wikipedia released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike Licence 3.0. Eventual photos shown in this page may or may not be from Wikipedia, please see the license details for photos in photo by-lines.

Scientific classification

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

Common names

  • Thai: เหยี่ยวนกเขาชิครา, yiow nok khao chi-khlaa

Synonyms

  • Astur badius
  • Scelospizias badius
  • Micronisus badius

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Shikra, Accipiter badius in Thailand
  • Amphawa District, Samut Songkhram
  • Ao Phang-Nga National Park
  • Ban Chang District, Rayong
  • Ban Hong Non-hunting Area
  • Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Lat District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Phai District, Khon Kaen
  • Ban Pho District, Chachoengsao
  • Bang Lamung District, Chonburi
  • Bang Pahan District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Phra Non-hunting Area
  • Bang Pu Recreation Centre
  • Bang Saphan Noi District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Bangkok Province
  • Bueng Boraped Non-hunting Area
  • Chae Hom District, Lampang
  • Chaloem Phra Kiat District, Saraburi
  • Chaloem Phrakiat Thai Prachan National Park
  • Chaloem Rattanakosin National Park
  • Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Chiang Khong District, Chiang Rai
  • Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai
  • Doi Chong National Park
  • 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
  • Dong Kheng Forest Park
  • Erawan National Park
  • Fang District, Chiang Mai
  • Hang Chat District, Lampang
  • Hat Noppharat Thara - Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park
  • Hat Wanakon National Park
  • Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Huai Chorakhe Mak Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Huai Krachao District, Kanchanaburi
  • Huai Talat Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • In Buri District, Sing Buri
  • Kabin Buri District, Prachinburi
  • Kaeng Khoi District, Saraburi
  • Kaeng Krachan District, Phetchaburi
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Kaeng Krung National Park
  • Kamphaeng Saen District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Kanthararom District, Sisaket
  • Kantharawichai District, Maha Sarakham
  • Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Banthat Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Dinsor (Chumphon Raptor Center)
  • Khao Khitchakut National Park
  • Khao Laem National Park
  • Khao Laem Ya National Park
  • Khao Luang National Park
  • Khao Phra - Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Khao Sanam Prieng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sok National Park
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Khao Yoi District, Phetchaburi
  • Khlong Nakha Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khlong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khon San District, Chaiyaphum
  • Khun Chae National Park
  • Khung Kraben Non-hunting Area
  • Khura Buri District, Phang Nga
  • Klaeng District, Rayong
  • Ko Phra Thong
  • Ko Tao
  • Kui Buri National Park
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Lam Nam Kok National Park
  • Lan Sang National Park
  • Mae Ai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Mo District, Lampang
  • Mae Moei National Park
  • Mae Ping National Park
  • Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Sot District, Tak
  • Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Wong National Park
  • Mu Ko Chang National Park
  • Mu Ko Similan National Park
  • Mu Ko Surin National Park
  • Muak Lek District, Saraburi
  • Mueang Chaiyaphum District, Chaiyaphum
  • Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai
  • Mueang Chonburi District, Chonburi
  • Mueang Chumphon District, Chumphon
  • Mueang Kamphaeng Phet District, Kamphaeng Phet
  • Mueang Khon Kaen District, Khon Kaen
  • Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
  • Mueang Lampang District, Lampang
  • Mueang Lamphun District, Lamphun
  • Mueang Nakhon Nayok District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Mueang Nakhon Ratchasima District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Mueang Nan District, Nan
  • Mueang Nonthaburi District, Nonthaburi
  • Mueang Pathum Thani District, Pathum Thani
  • Mueang Phetchaburi District, Phetchaburi
  • Mueang Phitsanulok District, Phitsanulok
  • Mueang Phuket District, Phuket
  • Mueang Ratchaburi District, Ratchaburi
  • Mueang Sa Kaeo District, Sa Kaeo
  • Mueang Samut Sakhon District, Samut Sakhon
  • Mueang Sisaket District, Sisaket
  • Mueang Sukhothai District, Sukhothai
  • Mueang Suphanburi District, Suphan Buri
  • Mueang Tak District, Tak
  • Nam Nao National Park
  • Nam Phong National Park
  • Namtok Mae Surin National Park
  • Namtok Phlio National Park
  • Namtok Sam Lan National Park
  • Nong Bong Khai Non-hunting Area
  • Nong Ya Plong District, Phetchaburi
  • Nong Yai Area Development Project Under Royal Init
  • Ob Khan National Park
  • Pa Sang District, Lamphun
  • Pai District, Mae Hong Son
  • Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Pak Thale
  • Pang Sida National Park
  • Pha Daeng National Park
  • Pha Taem National Park
  • Phan District, Chiang Rai
  • Phatthana Nikhom District, Lopburi
  • Phimai District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Phu Chong Na Yoi National Park
  • Phu Foi Lom National Park
  • Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park
  • Phu Khiao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phu Soi Dao National Park
  • Phu Suan Sai National Park
  • Phu Toei National Park
  • Phu Wiang National Park
  • Phutthamonthon District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Pran Buri District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Pran Buri Forest Park
  • Ramkhamhaeng National Park
  • Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi
  • Sai Yok National Park
  • Sakaerat Environmental Research Station
  • Salawin National Park
  • Samae San Island
  • Samut Prakan Province
  • San Sai District, Chiang Mai
  • Sanam Bin Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Sanam Chai Khet District, Chachoengsao
  • Sangkhla Buri District, Kanchanaburi
  • Sangkhom District, Nong Khai
  • Santi Suk District, Nan
  • Si Racha District, Chonburi
  • Si Satchanalai District, Sukhothai
  • Sirinat National Park
  • Sri Nakarin Dam National Park
  • Sri Phang-nga National Park
  • Ta Phraya National Park
  • Tai Rom Yen National Park
  • Taksin Maharat National Park
  • Taphan Hin District, Phichit
  • Tarutao National Marine Park
  • Tat Mok National Park
  • Tat Ton National Park
  • Tha Takiap District, Chachoengsao
  • Tha Yang District, Phetchaburi
  • Thale Noi Non-hunting Area
  • Than Sadet - Koh Pha-Ngan National Park
  • Thanyaburi District, Pathum Thani
  • Thap Lan National Park
  • Thong Pha Phum District, Kanchanaburi
  • Thung Salaeng Luang National Park
  • Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Ton Pariwat Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Wang Chan District, Rayong
  • Wat Phai Lom & Wat Ampu Wararam Non-hunting Area
  • Wiang Kaen District, Chiang Rai

Range map of Accipiter badius 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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