Gabar Goshawk (Micronisus gabar)
The Gabar Goshawks are African birds of prey that are wide spread
over much of Southern Africa, excluded only from the drier parts in
the West. Their preferred habitats are open woodlands.
The Gabar Goshawk has aberrant plumage colouration which is due
to a genetic mutation. In most bird species this is often caused by
injury or poor diet. This occurs in approximately 10-20% of the
Gabar Goshawk's population. The normal plumage is a slatey grey on
top and a pale barred grey at the bottom. The melanistic
plumage is almost totally black with pale barring on the wings and
This striking yet extremely quick little hawk is specifically
designed to catch birds in flight but will also take them straight
off the ground. The long toes and legs wrap around flying prey
quickly and efficiently to prevent the captured bird from being able
to flap and possibly injuring it's captor.
The average clutch consists of two to three eggs, which are
incubated for about 28 - 30 days to hatching. The breeding season is
mainly from August through to March. This bird is often seen in
pairs, however this individual in the photo is a melanistic male
that had a normal plumage female spouse. In the image it can be seen
eating a Lilac Breasted Roller chick that it had hunted out of a
nearby tree trunk.