Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Shikra (Accipiter badius)


French: Épervier shikra German: Schikrasperber Spanish: Gavilán chikra

Falco badius

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

Sri Lanka


Traditionally combined in a species-group with A. butleri and A. brevipes, and often also A. soloensis and A. francesiae. Recent phylogenetic analyses#R found that these species (except A. butleri, for which no molecular data available) clustered together, but were not all closely related; rather, present species and A. brevipes formed one clade and A. soloensis and A. francesiae comprised another clade. Formerly considered conspecific with A. brevipes, but the two breed sympatrically in Armenia#R#R; an apparent hybrid between the two species recorded in S Israel#R. Has sometimes been considered to include A. butleri as a race. African races sphenurus and polyzonoides suggested as possibly representing a separate species, differing from Asian races in morphology and vocalizations#R. Six subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. b. sphenurus (Rüppell, 1836) – Senegambia E to SW Arabia, S to N DRCongo and N Tanzania.
  • A. b. polyzonoides A. Smith, 1838 – S DRCongo and S Tanzania to C Namibia and N South Africa.
  • A. b. cenchroides (Severtsov, 1873) – Armenia, SE Azerbaijan and Iran E to Kazakhstan, W Pakistan, NW India and extreme W Tibet, migrating farther S in winter.
  • A. b. dussumieri (Temminck, 1824) – E Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, much of India (except N & SW) and Bangladesh.
  • A. b. badius (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – SW India and Sri Lanka.
  • A. b. poliopsis (A. O. Hume, 1874) – Myanmar and S China to Thailand, Vietnam and, perhaps mainly in winter, Sumatra.
  • Descriptive notes

    25–44·5 cm; male 100–193 g, female 130–266 g; wingspan 48–56 cm (male) or 56–68 cm (female). Small, relatively thickset Accipiter... read more


    Especially vocal during breeding season, but also at other times; all calls seem to be given in... read more


    Throughout is found in dry areas with trees. Deciduous woodland and savanna, from arid steppe to... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly lizards, geckos, skinks and small birds (9–22 g) up to size of exotic Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus), bee-... read more


    Laying usually at end of dry season: Mar–Jun in SE Asia; Mar–Aug in Sri Lanka; Jan–June in India; Jan–May on... read more


    Regular winter migrant S from Palearctic edge of range (departs Sept/Oct, returns mid Apr–... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. The commonest small hawk of most dry woodland and tree savanna in Africa and India (e.g. in Corbett National Park);... read more

    Recommended citation

    Kemp, A.C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Shikra (Accipiter badius). 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 10 December 2019).