Dark Chanting Goshawk (Melierax metabates)

It is a slaty-gray bird of prey, with pink-orange legs and bill-base, standing out on its subtle plumage. Pairs thrive in densely-wooded savannas and well-leaved woodlands. This bird produces a booming “kleeeeu” call, resembling that of a gull, where it got its name. It is distinguished from its cousin through its gray-barred rump – other species sport an unstreaked whitish rump.

Read further to know more about the Dark Chanting Goshawk.

What is a Dark Chanting Goshawk?

Dark Chanting Goshawk (Melierax metabates) is a medium-sized bird of prey belonging to the family Accipitridae. It occurs across much of southern Arabia and sub-Saharan. An isolated population occurs in Morocco but appears to be rapidly declining. Prefers tropical to subtropical habitats, preying on various insects and vertebrates.

Its seven levels of classification are as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Accipitriformes

Family: Accipitridae

Genus: Melierax

Species: M. metabates

Dark Chanting Goshawk Physical Description

Dark Chanting Goshawk is a medium-sized bird of prey, growing from 16.9 to 22 inches or 43 to 56 centimeters, weighing from 645 to 852 grams, with a wingspan of 36.2 to 42.9 inches or 92 to 109 centimeters. Females are larger than males.

These birds appear bulky, with a reputable posture. Upperparts, head, and breast are dark gray, while underparts are white, with fine black bars. Meanwhile, the wing primary feathers are black. The tail is long, accentuated by wider black-and white-bars. The bill-base and legs are pink-orange, while cere has an orange-red tone. Juveniles or immature birds have a subtler, browner plumage.

Where can they be spotted?

Dark Chanting Goshawks occur in sub-Saharan Africa, southern Arabia, and Morocco. They may share a small part of their range with the Pale Chanting Goshawk. These birds prefer open woodlands, savannas while avoiding deserts and forests.

Interesting Facts You Should Know About the Dark Chanting Goshawk

Dark Chanting Goshawks’ diet revolves mainly on reptiles, lizards, chameleons, and snakes. They may also feed on insects, small birds, and rodents. These birds perch on bush tops, termite-hills, poles, or trees, diving steep and fast onto the ground once the prey is detected. As an agile bird of prey, it may also pursue birds while on the wings.

They are usually seen solitarily or in pairs, perching for extended periods. They fly steady, with light wing beats, and reach greater heights with raised wings. During the breeding season, they perform a breeding song in flight or from a treetop. The song is characterized by melodious, chanted whistles and flutes, where they got their name. Other courtship antics include the male diving repeatedly towards the female, who then displays her claws towards him.

Dark Chanting Goshawks constructs nest on main fork a woodland tree, frequently in an Acacia. Nest materials used are fine grass materials and sticks. The female Dark Chanting Goshawks lays 1 to 2 eggs, mostly from August to November. She will incubate the eggs solely for about 36-38 days, while the male hunts and brings her food. The broods will fledge approximately 50 days after hatching. Juveniles will become independent at 3 to 8 months of age and will leave their parents’ range in the next breeding period.

These birds are widespread and common are not globally-threatened. However, their population in the Arabian Peninsula and Morocco are considered vulnerable due to the degradation of their woodland habitats. Overall, the Dark Chanting Goshawks are currently evaluated as Least Concern under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.



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Dark Chanting Goshawk
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