Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Gabar Goshawk (Micronisus gabar)


French: Autour gabar German: Gabarhabicht Spanish: Gavilán gabar

Falco gabar


, 1800,

Zwart River, Cape Province, South Africa


Subspecies not well defined, and distributional limits obscured by existence of colour morphs and intermediates; species sometimes treated as monotypic#R. Proposed form defensorum (from Yemen) synonymized with niger. Three subspecies provisionally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. g. niger (Vieillot, 1823) – Senegambia E to Eritrea and SW Arabia, and S to N Cameroon, S Chad and South Sudan.
  • M. g. aequatorius Clancey, 1987 – Ethiopian Highlands S to DRCongo, N Zambia and N Mozambique.
  • M. g. gabar (Daudin, 1800) – Angola, Zambia and Mozambique S to South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    28–36 cm; male 90–173 g, female 167–240 g; wingspan 56–66 cm. Female larger than male, e.g. has wing 186–215 mm (versus 183–204 mm in male... read more


    Mainly silent, except in display (where useful for identification as quite different from voice of... read more


    Mainly open thorn savanna (e.g. AcaciaCombretum woodland and Acacia... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly small birds of 10–80 g, up to 352 g young Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris), francolins or coucals (... read more


    Laying usually at end of dry season: Mar–Jun in W & NE Africa (but sometimes until Aug in Ethiopia); Feb–Nov, with two... read more


    Resident in many areas, but fluctuations in numbers suggest some local movements S in dry season in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Common and widespread through a diverse range of savanna and woodland habitats, although rarely nests in plantations of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Kemp, A.C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Gabar Goshawk (Micronisus gabar). 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).