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Accipiter virgatus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Declining.

Other Names: Besra Sparrowhawk, Philippine Sparrowhawk.

Accipiter virgatus
click to enlarge
Distribution: Indomalayan/Palearctic. Northern INDIA east to southern CHINA and TAIWAN, south to SRI LANKA, Indochina, Malaysian Peninsula, LESSER SUNDAS, PHILIPPINES, and INDONESIA. more....

Subspecies: 11 races. A. v. affinis: Northern INDIA and NEPAL east to central and southern CHINA and INDOCHINA; A. v. ablulali: ANDAMAN IS. and possibly NICOBAR IS.; A. v. besra: Southwestern INDIA and SRI LANKA (and southeastern INDIA?); A. v. confusus: Northern and eastern PHILIPPINES (Luzon, Mindoro, Negros, and Catanduanes Is.); A. v. fuscipectus: Mountains of TAIWAN; A. v. nisoides: MYANMAR and THAILAND (probably also the MALAY PENINSULA); A. v. quagga: Southeastern PHILIPPINES (Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Samar, Siquijor, and Mindanao Is.); A. v. quinquefasciatus: LESSER SUNDAS (Flores); A. v. rufotibialis: Northern BORNEO; A. v. vanbemmeli: SUMATRA; A. v. virgatus: JAVA and BALI.

Taxonomy: Formerly considered conspecific with A. gularis, but probably forms a superspecies with it and possibly A. nanus (see Mees (1981).

Movements: Partial migrant and also an altitudinal migrant in some areas(Bildstein 2006).

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in areas of closed-canopy shrubland, dense broad-leafed and coniferous forest, and woodland. Outside the breeding season it is also found around marshes, fish ponds, mangroves, and agricultural lands (Carey et al. 2001). In Sabah, it occurs in clearings, roadsides, and montane forest (Sheldon et al. 2001). Generally inconspicuous, typically perching in dense cover, but also perches in tall trees at the forest edge (Coates and Bishop 1997).

Food and Feeding Behavior: Preys on small birds, which it captures after fast dashes through the forest interior, and also on small mammals, lizards, and large insects (Coates and Bishop 1997, Kennedy et al. 2000).more....

Breeding: Builds a stick nest placed in trees. Clutch size is 4-5 white eggs with reddish-brown markings. more....

Conservation: Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Important References: 
Clark, W.S. 1994. Besra. Pp. 155 in del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, and J.
  Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New World vultures
  to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Naoroji, R. 2006. Birds of prey of the Indian subcontinent. Christopher
  Helm, London.
Yao, C.-T. 2004. [Observations on the breeding biology of Besra
  Sparrowhawk]. Raptor Research of Taiwan 5:11-19.

Sites of Interest:
Besra photos.

Soni, Hiren

Last modified: 5/15/2014

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2022. Species account: Besra Accipiter virgatus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 23 Jan. 2022

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