Eastern Chanting Goshawk

Melierax poliopterus - Autour à ailes grises

Autour à ailes grises
  • Order 


  • Family


  • Genus


  • Species



Cabanis, 1868

  • Size
    : 55 cm
  • Wingspan
    : 96 à 110 cm.
  • Weight
    : 514 à 802 g
Geographic range



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The Eastern Chanting Goshawk is a medium-sized raptor, whose silhouette differs from that of Accipiter with its broad and wide wings and long, banded tail.
As with most raptors, the sexes are identical, the female slightly larger than the male. The adult is gray all over, finely barred with light from the chest to the belly. The tips of the wings and tail are darker. The rump is white. In this way, it resembles the gray buzzards, the marsh harrier and the Pallid Harrier, but its flight is very different.
The wax is yellow, the eyes are dark red and the long bare legs are orange-red.
The immature Eastern Chanting Goshawk has the upper side brown, the chest striped with brown, the belly white barred with brown. The rump is white like that of the adult, sometimes slightly stained with brown. The eyes are whitish-yellow. It is difficult to distinguish from the immature dark goshawk.

Subspecific information monotypic species

Foreign names

  • Autour à ailes grises,
  • Azor lagartijero somalí,
  • açor-cantor-oriental,
  • Weißbürzel-Singhabicht,
  • keleti éneklőhéja,
  • Bleke Zanghavik,
  • Atore cantante orientale,
  • östlig sånghök,
  • Østsanghauk,
  • jastrabec spevavý,
  • jestřáb východoafrický,
  • Somalisanghøg,
  • somalianlauluhaukka,
  • astor cantaire d'Àfrica oriental,
  • jastrzębiak popielaty,
  • Серый певчий ястреб,
  • ヒガシコシジロウタオオタカ,
  • 灰歌鹰,
  • 歌鷹,

Voice song and cries

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The Eastern Chanting Goshawk primarily vocalizes during reproduction. The song is a long series of sharp notes, emitted either while in flight or from a perch.
The first notes are longer and sharper. The stanza has been transcribed as piiiii...piipiipipipipipipipi... or cliouuu-cliouuu-clou-clou-clou... which gives a fairly accurate account of the structure and the tone of the song. This salvo of notes can be repeated without ceasing.
The alarm call is a chirp which is similar to that of the Dark Goshawk.


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Eastern Chanting Goshawks frequent dry regions, scrub-covered savannahs dotted with thorny shrubs and wooded savannahs up to 2000m. It is more closely associated with arid zones than the Dark Chanting Goshawk, in the overlap zone between their ranges.

Behaviour character trait

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The Eastern Chanting Goshawk lives alone or in pairs. It is usually seen perched prominently on the top of a bush, from where it can spot its prey and dive down to catch it. It is rarely observed on the ground outside of hunting.
It is a sedentary bird, although it can move within its range depending on the weather conditions and available resources.

Dietfeeding habits

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Mostly made up of small reptiles, snakes and lizards, it can also include small mammals and birds, as well as some large arthropods, like beetles. The Eastern Chanting Goshawk is rarely a scavenger. It mainly hunts by standing still and watching, but may sometimes do short chases in the air.

Reproduction nesting

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The Eastern Chanting Goshawk reproduces towards the end of the dry season. There are two egg-laying periods in Tanzania and Kenya, which have two rainy seasons.

The courtship is usually nocturnal, with the birds circling above the territory at the beginning of the night.
The nest is built by the pair in a tree, usually an acacia or an euphorbia, at about 5-8 meters in height. It is a platform of twigs of about 60 centimeters in diameter, shallow, which the birds line with various debris.
The clutch consists of one or two eggs, which are incubated for five weeks like other species of hawks. It is mainly the female who takes on the incubation.
The young stay in the nest for up to 8 weeks; usually only one survives, though no aggression has been noted between the chicks.

Geographic range

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The Eastern Chanting Goshawk is present in northeast Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, as well as southeast Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti. It is one of the most common raptors in East Africa.

Threats - protection

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IUCN conservation status
in the Wild

The Eastern Chanting Goshawk is widely spread in its range. In the Tsavo Park in Kenya, which provides an ideal habitat for this species, the density measured is 50 to 60 pairs per 100 km². As a result, the species is currently not considered threatened. Only destruction of trees through deforestation or overpopulation of elephants could in the future harm the species.

Sources of information

Other sources of interest

QRcode Autour à ailes grisesSpecification sheet created on 30/07/2023 by
Translation by AI Oiseaux.net
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