RAPTORS of Africa

Raptors are carnivorous. They hunt by sight during the day, are long lived, and have low reproductive rates. The catch their prey via strong claws three pointing forward and one pointing backward. The raptors that hunt by day are: hawks, eagle, buzzards, harriers, kites, vultures, falcons, caracaras. Owls hunt by night. Raptors are also called birds of prey.



Hawks

Order Accipitriformes    Family Accipitridae

The order Accipitriformes contains the diurnal (active during the day) birds of prey: hawks, goshawks, eagles, kites, vultures, ospreys, secretary birds. These birds have sometimes been considered part of the Falconiformes which contains the falcons, but DNA evidence indicates the orders should be separate.

The Accipitridae family contains the hawks, goshawks, eagles, kites, Old World vultures. Subfamilies are often used to group related species, but the subfamiles for much of Accipitridae are in flux. They will be used here if there is agreement for their members.

This page contains species that are termed hawks or buzzards.


Genus Accipiter
The raptors of Accipiter are called hawks, goshawks, and sparrowhawks. These birds are slender with short broad rounded wings and a long tail which helps them maneuver in flight. They have long legs and long sharp talons used to kill their prey, and a sharp hooked bill used in feeding. Females tend to be larger than males. They often ambush their prey, mainly small birds and mammals, capturing it after a short chase. The typical flight pattern is a series of flaps followed by a short glide. They are commonly found in wooded or shrubby areas.
See also Melierax for more Goshawks.

Goshawk, African  Accipiter tachiro  Found: Africa
The African Goshawk has gray (male) or dark brown (female) upperparts; light underparts with rufous barring; yellow eyes; legs; gray cere
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - Radical Raptors, South Africa   2) Dick -  World of Birds , South Africa   3) Dave Curtis - Nairobi
3) Male


Goshawk, Frances's  Accipiter francesiae Found: Madagascar
Image by: 1) David Cook  2, 4) Frank Vassen  1) Werner Witte
1) Juvenile


Goshawk, Henst's  Accipiter henstii  Found: Madagascar
image by: 1) Born Free Photos  2) Tony Palliser


Goshawk, Red-chested  Accipiter toussenelii  Found: west Africa
The Red-chested Goshawk has gray upperparts with lighter heads; yellow-orange eyes, legs, cere; rufous and white underparts; western subspecies has light barring on the rufous; black tail with 2 or 3 bold white spots.
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans  2) Terese Hart


Shikra  Accipiter badius  Found: Asia, Africa
The Shikra has gray upperparts; whitish underparts with fine rufuous bars
Similar to: Northern Goshawk. Northern Goshawk has distinct white eyebrow; Sharp-shinned Hawk does not.
Image by: 1) Karunakar Rayker  2) Thoi Gujarat  3) Ravi Vaidyanathan  4) Umang Dutt - India
1) Juvenile


Sparrowhawk, Black  also  Black Goshawk  Accipiter melanoleucus  Found: Africa
The Black Sparrowhawk has mainly black plumage; white breast, throat. Black morph has black underparts with some white spots.
Image by: 1, 3) Ian White 2) Aviceda - Uganda
1) Juvenile  3) Black morph


Sparrowhawk, Eurasian also Northern Sparrowhawk  Accipiter nisus Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The Eurasian Sparrowhawk has bluish-gray (male) or brownish-gray (female) upperparts; rufous underparts with white barring.
Image by: 1, 2) Eddy Van 3000   3) Keith Laverack - England  4) Christian Knoch 


Sparrowhawk, Little  Accipiter minullus  Found: Africa
The Little Sparrowhawk has dark gray upperparts; whitish underparts with dark spots and bars; 2 to 3 white spots on upper-tail.
Image by: 1) Oom Kosie


Sparrowhawk, Madagascar  Accipiter madagascariensis  Found: Madagascar
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans  2) Anne van der Wal


Sparrowhawk, Ovambo  Accipiter ovampensis  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans  2) Steve Garvie - Kenya
2) Juvenile (light phase)


Sparrowhawk, Rufous-chested also Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk  Accipiter rufiventris  Found; Africa
The Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk has gray upperparts, cap, nape; rufous underparts, cheeks; whitish throat.
Image by:  1) Mike Richardson and Sarah Winch - South Africa  2) Alan Manson - South Africa



Genus Aviceda
The bazas, also known as cuckoo-hawks, all have a crest on the head.

Baza, Madagascar  also  Madagascar Cuckoo-Hawk  Found: Madagascar
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans  2) Louise Jasper  3) John Irvine



Genus Butastur

Buzzard, Grasshopper  Butastur rufipennis  Found: Africa
The Grasshopper Buzzard has gray-brown upperparts; gray tail with dark bars, black subterminal band, white tip; white throat; buffy breast with brown streaks; yellow cere and bill with black tip; yellow eyes, legs.
Image by: 1) Joseph Wolf  2) Nigel Blake - Gambia


Buzzard, White-eyed  Butastur teesa  Found: south Asia
Image by: J M Garg



Genus Buteo  
Buteos are large raptors. They are known as buzzards in the Old World and hawks in the New World. The favorite prey are small mammals, but will also catch reptiles and ducks. They often soar on high and sprial down to seize their prey. They will also eat carrion if necessary.

Buzzard, Archer's  Buteo archeri Found: Africa
The Archer's Buzzard has brown upperparts; chestnut underparts with a white throat.
Image by: 1) Henrik Gronvoid


he Augur Buzzard Buteo is also considered as Buteo rufofuscus augur, a subspecies of the Jackal Buzzard. It has mainly black upperparts; blackish primary flight feathers; off-white secondary flight feathers; white underparts, under-wings. There is a melanistic form which has mainly black plumage
Image by: 1, 2, 3) Dick Daniels - Carolina Raptor Center  4, 7) Dick - Tanzania  5) Dick - Kenya   6) Charlie Westerinen - South Africa   
1, 2, 3) Melanistic form.  



Buzzard, Common Buteo Buteo   Found: Europe, Asia , Africa
The varies from almost pure white to black. It is usually shades of brown with a "necklace" of feathers. The Steppe Buzzard  (Buteo b. vulpinus) is a subspecies of the Common Buzzard.
Similar to: European Honey-Buzzard. The Common Buzzard has a larger head than the European Honey-Buzzard. The European Honey-Buzzard has fewer bars on its tail.
Similar to: Mountain Buzzard. Mountain Buzzard has denser spots on underparts than the Common Buzzard.
Similar to: Rough-legged Hawk. Common Buzzard has broader, shorter wings. Rough-legged Hawk legs are feathered to the feet.
Image by:   1) Mark Medcalf - Scotland  2, 3) Dick Daniels - Center for Birds of Prey, Charleston, South Carolina   4) Arno Meintjes5, 6) Craig Adam - South Africa   7, 8) Dick Daniels - World of Birds, South Africa  
4 - 8) Steppe Buzzard  


Buzzard, Jackal  Buteo rufofuscus   Found: Africa
The Jackal Buzzard has black upperparts; rufuous tail, upper-breast> Rest of underparts are black, white, and rufous.
Image by: 1, 2, 4, 5) Dick Daniels - Radical Raptors aviary in South Africa   3) Dick near De Hoop, South Africa  6) Sandy Cole near Tenikwa Cats, South Africa 



Buzzard, Long-legged  Buteo rufinus  Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The Long-legged Buzzard has many different color forms from pale to very dark. It usually has orange tinted plumage, dark carpal patch; black trailing edge on under-wing. It is one of the larges species of Buteo.
Similar to: Rough-legged Buzzard. The Long-legged Buzzard is larger and more robust than the Rough-legged Buzzard. Rough-legged Buzzard legs are feathered to the feet.
Image by: 1) Sajahanmi  2) Durzan Cirano  3) A. Jo   4) Comfortably Numb  5) Sergey Yeliseev - Kazakhstan



Buzzard, Madagascar  Buteo brachypterus  Found: Madagascar
Image by:  1) Dick Daniels - Antananarivo Zoo, Madagascar  2, 5) Dick - Kirindy Forest, Madagascar  3) Fir Z 4) Daniel Guip



Buzzard, Mountain  Buteo oreophilus  Found: Africa
The Mountain Buzzard has brown upperparts; white underparts with dense brown spots.
Similar to: Common Buzzard. Mountain Buzzard has denser spots on underparts than the Common Buzzard.
Image by: 1) Alastair Rae  2) Dave Curtis



Genus Circus
Harriers characteristically hunt by flying low over open ground such as grassland or marshes, feeding on small mammals, reptiles, or birds. The name Circus refers to the circling movements female and male make when courting. Males and females have distinct plumage.
See Polyboroides for more Harriers.

Harrier, African Marsh- Circus ranivorus  Found: Africa
The African Marsh-Harrier has mainly brown plumage; yellow eyes, legs.
Similar to: Western Marsh-Harrier.  African March-Harrier has darker underparts and head than Western Marsh-Harrier.
Image by: 1) Robert Simmons  2) Tarique Sani - Botswana   3) Eric Ahiers - South Africa 


Harrier, Black  Circus maurus  Found: Botswana, Nambia, South Africa
The Black Harrier has mainly black plumage; black under-wing coverts; white flight feathers.
Image by: 1) Coenraad Jacob Temminck  2) Jackie During


Harrier, Montagu's  Circus pygargus  Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The male Montagu's Harrier has mainly gray plumage; black wing-tips; black bands on upper and lower wings. Female has dark brown upperparts; white rump; yellow-brown underparts with stripes.
Similar to: Northern Harrier. Northern Harrier has barring on wing-tips; Montagu's Harrier does not.
Similar to: Pallid Harrier. Female Montagu's Harrier had to distinguish from female Pallid Harrier. Female Pallid Harrier has a pale collar, female Montagu's Harrier does not.
Image by:   1, 3) Tarique Sani   2) Vitaliy Khustochka - Ukraine  4) JV Verde - Portugal
1, 2) Female  3, 4) Male


Harrier, Reunion  Circus maillardi  Found: island of Reunion in Indian Ocean, Madagascar
The male Reunion Harrier has a blackish head and back with white streaks; white underparts, under-wings, rump; gray tail. Female has mainly dark brown plumage; white rump; barred tail.
Image by: Thierry Caro   2) Kristian Svensson
1) Stuffed

 
Harrier, Western Marsh-  also Eurasian Marsh-Harrier  Circus aeruginosus  Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The male Western Marsh-Harrier  has mainly reddish-brown plumage with yellowish streaks on neck and breast; light gray-brown under-wings. Female has mainly chocolated-brown plumage; lighter and yellowish head, throat, shoulders.
Similar to: African Marsh-Harrier.  African March-Harrier has darker underparts and head than Western Marsh-Harrier.
Image by: 1) Ferran Pestana  2) Moayed Bahajjaj      3) Sergey Pisarevskiy - western Siberia   4) Cristiano Crolle - Manzolino, Italy  5) Cristiano Crolle - Texel, Holland  6) Artur Mikolajewski - Lasy Janowskie, Poland
1) Juvenile  2) Male



Genus Macheiramphus - 1 species

Hawk, Bat  Macheiramphus alcinus  Found: Africa, Asia
The Bat Hawk has mainly dark brown or black plumage; white throat with black median line.
Image by: 1) Johan van Rensburg  2) Gary Albert



Genus Melierax
The Chanting Goshawks, long-tailed hawks, are found in Africa

Goshawk, Dark Chanting-  Melierax metabates  Found: Africa
The Dark Chanting-Goshawk has slate-gray upperparts, upper-breast; gray-and-white barring on rest of underparts`; black and white tail; gray wings with black tips.
Image by:  1, 2, 3) Arno Meintjes  4) Nevit Dilmen - Tanzania  5) Frank Vassen - Namibia   6) I Love Trees at Kapama Game Reserve, South Africa   7) JV Verde - Gambia



Goshawk, Eastern Chanting-  Melierax poliopterus  Found: east Africa
The Eastern Chanting-Goshawk has gray upperparts, breast; gray-and-white barring on belly; blackish upper-tail; white under-tail with gray bars; yellow cere; orange-red legs.
Image by  1) Lip Kee Yap  2) Christiaan Kooyman  3) Sergey Yeliseev - Kenya


Goshawk, Pale Chanting- also Southern Pale Chanting-Goshawk  Melierax canorus    Found: Africa
The Pale Chanting-Goshawk has gray upperparts, head, upper-breast; gray and white barred lower-breast, belly; white rump; red eyes, cere, legs.
Image by:  1) Alastair Rae  2)  Francesco Veronesi   3) Cristiano Crolle  - Etosha Nat.Park, Namibia   4) David Berliner - Tanqua Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa




Genus Micronisus - 1 species

Goshawk, Gabar  Micronisus gabar   Found: Africa
The Gabar Goshawk has gray upperparts, head, upper-breast; gray and white barred lower-breast, belly; white rump; red eyes, cere, legs.
Image by: 1) Neil Strickland   2, 3) Lip Kee - Tanzania   4) Mike LaBarbera - Tanzania
1) Juvenile  4) Dark Phase



Genus Pernis
The Honey-Buzzards breed in temperate regions of the Old World. They feed on wasp larvae.

Buzzard, European Honey- also Honey Buzzard  Pernis apivorus   Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The European Honey Buzzard has a small blue-gray (male) or brown (female) head; yellow-orange eyes; two dark central bands and one dark terminal band. Juvenile has brown eyes.
Similar to: Common Buzzard. The Common Buzzard has a larger head than the European Honey-Buzzard. The European Honey-Buzzard has fewer bars on its tail.
Image by: 1) John Gould  2) Rainer Altenkamp   3) Jo Mur - Zambia  4,6 ) Cristiano Crolle - Cesano Maderno, Italy  5) Characters



Genus Polyboroides

Hawk, African Harrier- also Harrier Hawk also Gymnogene Polyboroides typus   Found: Africa
The African Harrier-Hawk has mainly gray plumage; black tail with single white band; black flight feathers; dark banding on lower-breast, belly; yellow eye-patch.
Image by:  1) Charlie Westerinen - northeast Botswana1  2) Dick Daniels - World of Birds, South Africa   3, 4) Arno Meintjes  5) Joseph Mochoge - Kenya  6) Craig Adam - South Africa


Hawk, Madagascar Harrier-  Polyboroides radiatus  Found: Madagascar
The Madagascar Harrier-Hawk has mainly gray plumage; black tail with single white band; black flight feathers; dark banding on lower-breast, belly; yellow eye-patch.
Image by: 1) Werner Witte  2) Frank Wouters
1) Juvenile






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