Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Dark Chanting-goshawk (Melierax metabates)


French: Autour sombre German: Graubürzel-Singhabicht Spanish: Azor lagartijero oscuro

Melierax metabates


, 1861,

White Nile between latitudes 6° N and 7° N, South Sudan


Form neumanni often treated as synonym of nominate; ignoscens likewise very similar to nominate, but possibly smaller#R. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. m. theresae R. Meinertzhagen, 1939 – SW Morocco.
  • M. m. neumanni E. J. O. Hartert, 1914 – Mali E to N Sudan.
  • M. m. ignoscens Friedmann, 1928 – SW Arabian Peninsula.
  • M. m. metabates Heuglin, 1861 – Senegambia E to Eritrea and Ethiopia, S to NE DRCongo and N Tanzania.
  • M. m. mechowi Cabanis, 1882 – Angola E to S Tanzania, S to N Namibia and NE South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    42–50 cm; male 646–695 g (478–700 g in race mechowi), female 841–852 g (650–815 g in race mechowi); wingspan 86–104 cm.... read more


    Considered to be generally silent outside breeding season. Calls generally similar to those of ... read more


    Moist broadleaved woodlands and well-wooded savanna, barely overlapping with drier habitats of... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly small vertebrates, especially lizards, small snakes and birds, up to size of Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris),... read more


    Laying Mar–May in NW, W & NE Africa; mainly Feb–Apr (perhaps also Oct) in SW Arabia; Jun–Jul in E Africa; Aug–... read more


    Resident and sedentary in most areas; some movement S in dry season in W Africa, and into NE Zaire... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Widespread and common, especially in C Africa, where only recently (mid 1990s) added to Congo-Brazzaville list. Apparently... read more

    Recommended citation

    Kemp, A.C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Dark Chanting-goshawk (Melierax metabates). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 27 February 2020).