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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

African Goshawk

Afrikaans name: Afrikaanse Sperwer

African Goshawk in Hluhluwe Game Reserve

African Goshawk

Photo © Steven Herbert

Accipiter tachiro

The African Goshawk occurs in a broad band from Cape Town, along the eastern regions of South Africa, to Limpopo in the north. Beyond our borders it is widely distributed to Ethiopia and Eritrea.

These raptors spend much of the day hunting from concealed perches in their preferred habitat of dense vegetation. They mainly feed on birds, up to the size of Francolins, but will also eat small reptiles and mammals. Insects such as termite alates and moths also form part of their diet.

Although the African Goshawk prefers hiding in cover it does make its presence known with its early morning flights over its territory. While in flight it does a clicking call every few seconds. One just needs to scour the skies for a high-flying bird and that will be the Goshawk. Their call is, however, often imitated by Drongoes but they will call from low down and not overhead.

The female normally builds the nest which consists of twigs and leaves. Up to 3 eggs are laid, most often in spring.

African Goshawk in flight

There it goes! This is the most common view of an African Goshawk.

Photo © Steven Herbert

Juvenile African Goshawk in Hluhluwe Game Reserve

Juvenile African Goshawk

Photo © Steven Herbert


References and further reading

Birds of Prey of Southern Africa - Author: Peter Steyn - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 177

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 21

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 13

Eagles, Hawks & Falcons of the World - Author: Leslie Brown and Dean Amadon - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 492

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 62

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 144

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 140

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 118

The Status & Conservation of Birds of Prey in the Transvaal - Author: W. Tarboton and D. Allan - Year Published: 1984 - Page: 83

List of South African Birds

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