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Pale Chanting Goshawk
Melierax canorus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Stable.

Other Names: Melierax musicus, Pale Chanting-goshawk, Southern Pale Chanting-goshawk.

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Melierax canorus
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Distribution: Afrotropical. Southern Africa from southern ANGOLA, NAMIBIA, BOTSWANA, and southwestern ZIMBABWE and all of SOUTH AFRICA except for the eastern and extreme southern portions. more....

Subspecies: 2 races. M. c. argentior: Southern Angola south and east through Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe to northeastern South Africa (Transvaal and northwestern Orange Free State); M. c. canorus: Southern South Africa (Cape Province, southern Orange Free State and formerly southern Natal). more....

Taxonomy: Probably forms a superspecies with M. poliopterus and M. metabates. Some authorities have consider it to be conspecific with M. poliopterus.

Movements: Partial migrant, with juveniles dispersing from breeding areas (Bildstein 2006). Probably mostly sedentary, but long-distance band recoveries suggest some post-breeding nomadism by juveniles in southern Africa. SAFRING ring recovery data show that females disperse an average distance of 282 km and males 39 km in South Africa (Malan 1997). more....

Habitat and Habits: Prefers open savanna and arid habitats, especially areas of limited groundcover, scattered trees and bushes, and along streams. Spends much time perched on a telephone pole or a bush, or sitting on the ground. Usually found singly or in pairs, but occasionally in family groups of five or more. This species prefers more arid habitat than the Dark Chanting-goshawk, and their ranges overlap only marginally. more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds on hares, rodents, birds, snakes, lizards, and insects. Dives or runs after prey, or makes aerial chases, especially of hares. Also takes carrion, including road kills. Most hunting is from an exposed perch from which the bird glides down to take the prey on the ground, sometimes completing the chase on foot. Occasionally quarters low over the ground like a harrier and sometimes rests on the ground and walks around in search of prey (Penry 1994). more....

Breeding: In southern Africa, the breeding season starts in July-August, peaks in October-November, and tapers off in May (Malan 1997). The stick nest, which is lined with dung, rags, wool, and other foreign matter, is placed in the upper fork of a thorny tree or on a utility pole. The nest is occasionally re-used during the following season. Clutch size is usually two, and the eggs are white and unmarked. Only the female incubates. The incubation period lasts for 37 days, and generally only one chick survives to the end of the nestling period, which lasts seven to eight weeks (Tarboton 1990). This species does not breed in some very dry years, but in wet years, two broods may be attempted (Biggs et al. 1984). Biggs et al. (op cit.1984) reported polyandry in this species in Namibia, but regarded it as uncommon and likely to occur during periods of poor feeding conditions. more....

Conservation: Widespread and common throughout its range, which is confined mostly to southern Africa. Maritz et al. (2000) listed potential threats as pesticides sprayed during locust plagues, collisions with powerlines, shooting, as a result of predation on domestic fowl, and drowning in farm reservoirs. Categorized as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International.

Population Estimates: Maritz et al. (2000) estimated the global population as more than 10,000 breeding pairs, with 400-900 pairs in the former Transvaal and more than 1,200 breeding pairs in the Northern Cape Province.

Important References: 
Brown, L.H., E.K. Urban, and K. Newman. 1982. The birds of Africa. Vol. 1.
  Academic Press, London.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Kemp, A.C. 1994. Pale Chanting-goshawk. P. 144 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.
Malan, G. 1997. Pale Chanting Goshawk. Pp. 232-233 in J.A. Harrison et al.
  (eds.), The atlas of South African birds. Volume 1: Non-passerines. BirdLife
  South Africa and Avian Demography Unit, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Steyn, P. 1982. Birds of prey of southern Africa: their identification and
  life histories. David Phillip, Cape Town, South Africa.

Current Research: Sightings of Southern Pale Chanting Goshawks with colored rings engraved with alphanumeric codes in South Africa should be reported to Gerard Malan at malan@tut.ac.za or 083-332-1589.

Sites of Interest:
Pale Chanting Goshawk photos.

Obodi, Veryl Achieng

Last modified: 10/4/2010

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2022. Species account: Pale Chanting Goshawk Melierax canorus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 23 Jan. 2022

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