›      ›   Shikra - Accipiter badius.

The Shikra (Accipiter badius) belongs to the family Accipitridae.
These Shikra species are distributed in Indian subcontinent, South China, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, West Asia, Middle East nations and Africa.

Taxonomy of Shikra

  • Scientific Name: Accipiter badius
  • Common Name: Shikra
  • French: Épervier shikra; German: Schikrasperber; Spanish: Gavilán chikra;
  • Other names: Falco badius J. F. Gmelin, 1788; little banded goshawk;
  • Family: Accipitridae › Accipitriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: Gmelin, 1788
Accipiter badius was earlier included in the genus Falco. It is closely related to A. brevipes. The six recognized subspecies are: A. b. sphenurus (Rüppell, 1836), A. b. polyzonoides A. Smith, 1838, A. b. cenchroides (Severtsov, 1873), A. b. dussumieri (Temminck, 1824), A. b. badius (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) and A. b. poliopsis (A. O. Hume, 1874).


The Shikra is a small goshawk, measuring 25 to 45 cm in length and weighing 100 to 200 grams.

The female shikra is larger than the male and weighs 130 to 260 grams. The wingspan is 50 to 70 cm. The shikra has short rounded wings and a narrow and long tail. The underside is white with fine rufous bars. The upper parts are grey. The lower belly has fewer bars and the thighs are white.

The wingtips are black and the central tail feathers have a dark terminal band. The male shikra have red iris and females have yellow-orange iris. The female shikra have brownish upper parts and the heavier barring on the underparts. Their call is a 'pee-wee' and sharper 'kik-ki ... kik-ki' sound.

Indian birds - Image of Shikra - Accipiter badius
Indian birds - Image of Shikra - Accipiter badius


The Shikra inhabits a range of habitats including forests, deciduous woodland, plains, farmlands, savanna, arid steppe and urban areas.

Feeding habits

The Shikra species feed on reptiles, small mammals, small birds, frogs and insects.


The Shikra species breeding season is from March to June. The nest is constructed on trees with twigs as a platform and is lined with grass. Both the partners take part in nest building. The usual clutch is 3 to 4 eggs.


The Shikra subspecies A. b. sphenurus is distributed in Africa and Middle East. The subspecies A. b. polyzonoides is distributed in Africa. The subspecies A. b. cenchroides is distributed in West Asia and Indian subcontinent.

The subspecies A. b. dussumieri is distributed in Indian subcontinent. The subspecies A. b. badius is distributed in Southwest India and Sri Lanka. The subspecies A. b. poliopsis is distributed in Myanmar, South China, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Movement Patterns

The Shikra population in the Indian subcontinent appears to be sedentary. Other northern populations migrate southwards for wintering.

Status and conservation

The Shikra has an extremely large range and considered least vulnerable. It is common in its range and the global population is not quantified. The loss of trees in the savanna and changes in the habitat brought about by human activities are the main threats to the survival of these bird species.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these Shikra species and has listed them as "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Accipiter badius
Species:A. badius
Binomial name:Accipiter badius
Distribution:Indian subcontinent, South China, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Africa and Middle East nations and West Asia;
Feeding habits:lizards, small mammals, frogs, large insects and birds;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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Image Author: Munish Jauhar | Image License: CC BY-SA 3.0
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