Pale Chanting Goshawk (Melierax canorus)

It is a tall, grayish hawk, with a long tail, pink-orange bill base, and legs. It displays a heavily contrasting wing pattern during its flight, with dull interior hinds wings and darkish tips. Pairs often thrive in steppes, thornveld, and deserts. They produce a loud, gull-like “kleeeeu” call, where they got their name.

Read further to know more about the Pale Chanting Goshawk.

What is a Pale Chanting Goshawk?

Pale Chanting Goshawk (Melierax canorus) is a bird of prey belonging to the Accipitridae family. This hawk thrives in open and spacious habitats in southern Africa, a resident of dry or semi-desert with 75 centimeters or less than yearly rainfall. It is often spotted perching or roadside fences and telephone poles.

Its seven levels of classification are as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Accipitriformes

Family: Accipitridae

Genus: Melierax

Species: M. canorus

Pale Chanting Goshawk Physical Description

Pale Chanting Goshawks are striking, medium-sized bird of prey, growing from 18.1 to 21.2 inches or 46 to 54 centimeters, weighing around 410 to 1000 grams, with a wingspan of 41.3 to 45.2 inches or 105 to 115 centimeters. Females are larger and heavier than males.

Both sexes have gray plumage, which becomes paler from the head down onto the bird’s rump. Their underpart is white, accentuated by fine grayish wavy patterns. Their chest is also of a soft gray tone. Meanwhile, their tail is dark gray with white barrings. Legs and feet are reddish. Their distinct, powerful, hooked bill is black, with an orange gape and cere. Their bill is an elegant feature, as it easily stands out in their rather dull-colored plumage.

Where can they be spotted?

Pale Chanting Goshawks is endemic to eastern and southern Africa. It thrives in open and spacious habitats, such as desert plains, semi-desert bushveld or thornveld, savannas, and steppes. It is found near watercourses in drier areas, where there are low trees, scattered bushes, or low groundcover locations.

Interesting Facts You Should Know About the Pale Chanting Goshawk

Pale Chanting Goshawks are skilled hunters, feeding primarily on insects, lizards, and small mammals that thrive in the long grasses abundant in their preferred habitats. Occasionally, they may also pursue smaller birds while in flight.

These elegant birds are often observed sitting upright on perches on their long legs. They keenly observe prey from their perch and quickly dive towards their victim. Pale Chanting Goshawks are rarely seen on the ground but can also run very fast when chasing their prey. Occasionally, they also perform aerial pursuits for smaller birds in flight or hares scramming on the ground.

Pale Chanting Goshawks can often be observed solitarily or in pairs. Pairs claim territory, and usually goes back and roost around the same trees.

While they are usually a quiet species, the male pale chanting goshawk can become vocal during the breeding period, perching on treetops and calling the female through a chain of “kleeu-ku-ku-ku” sounds. Moreover, the pair may engage into circling flights, accompanied by slow wing beats, or undulating flight displays with constant calls at the start of the breeding season.

These birds build their shallow nest cup in trees or poles, usually 10 to 30 feet from the ground. Nest materials used are sticks, with some dung and rags added in the interior as lining. The female will lay 1 to 2 eggs, which she will incubate solely. However, only one of the broods will be reared by the parents. The juvenile will remain for a few more months after fledging.

Pale Chanting Goshawks are fairly common in their range. They are currently classified as Least Concern (LC) under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.



Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Makgadikgadi Pan

Mashatu Game Reserve

Okavango Delta

Moremi Game Reserve


Addo Elephant National Park

Cape Peninsula National Park

Kalahari Gemsbok National Park

Knysna Lagoon

Madikwe Game Reserve



Etosha National Park

Namib-Naukluft National Park

Skeleton Coast



Matobo Hills


Pale Chanting Goshawk
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