I was enjoying some coffee and Scriptures one morning when I heard our pet dove on the back porch pitching a fit. It was squawking up a storm!
When I looked out the window, I saw this impressive raptor perched next to the cage. It seems he heard the young dove’s cries and came over hoping to get a snack. Lucky for the dove, she was safe behind bars!
After snapping some pictures and a video clip (below), I was able to look the bird up and found out is is Accipiter badius, a sparrowhawk commonly known as the “Shikra” or “little banded goshawk.”
The small bird of prey is common to Southern Asia (hence the name “Shikra” which means “hunter” in Hindi) as well as Sub-Saharan Africa. The West African variety is categorized as the subspecies A. b. sphenurus.
The Mamprusi call it “wubga” and have a couple proverbs about it:
Yugumpiini n goori ka wubga gɔsira.The hedgehog is roaming around and the hawk just watches.
Nɔgyɛla ku zɔ wubga.Hen’s eggs will not fear the sparrow hawk.
A few interesting facts about this sparrowhawk:
- It is popular among falconers in India and Pakistan because it is easy to train
- The bird’s eyesight is 8x better than humans’
- While they mostly eat rodents, lizards, insects and small birds, they will also hunt small bats at dusk
- The females are larger than the males (not the norm among birds)
- So terrified are birds of the shikra, that another bird – the drongo – will imitate its call to scare other birds into dropping their food (which the drongo then steals)