Shikra dietShikra( Accipiter badius )
Shikra, a small raptor belonging to the Accipitridae family is widely distributed in Africa, South China, and India. It is also referred to as the Little Banded Goshawk. In the local language of Bengal it is known as “Shikre Baj”.
Where could you find the Shikra in Kolkata?
During winter months the Shikra can be spotted at Central Park, Rabindra Sarobar, and in many other places in Kolkata.
When should you photograph the Shikra?
The best time to capture them through your lenses is the winter afternoons. On being a raptor; they are gifted with good eyesight due to which they are not easily approachable. While in flight they have a particular wing pattern through which they can be identified.
Photographing the bird, characteristics, breeding and the necessary details:
The Shikra is a small goshawk, measuring 25-40 com in length and weighing 100-200 grams. The wingspan is 50-70 cm. It has short rounded wings and a narrow, elongated tail. The underside is white with rufous bars. The upper parts are grey in colour. The lower belly has fewer bars and the thighs are white.
The female bird is larger compared to the male one. The male species have a red iris while the female possess yellow-orange iris. The females have brownish upper parts and the heavier barring on the underparts. Juveniles have dark streaks and spots on the upper breast. The Shikra is similar in appearance to other sparrowhawk species including the Chinese goshawk and the Eurasian sparrowhawk.
The bird could be visible in forests, deciduous woodlands, plains and farmlands. Small reptiles, small birds, insects, frogs is what their diet consists of. March to June is their breeding season. Usually they tend to build the nest on trees with twigs as a platform lined with grass.
Shikra call: Kik-ki-kik-ki
I photographed the bird at Central Park, Kolkta. Quite a few Shikra birds could be found here from September to December. You can find them towards the right side of the Butterfly Garden at Central Park, the species which is almost the sizs of a crow, sitting on the lower branches of the trees. They have a great eyesight, so if they sense any danger they will fly away.Thus, be patient and careful while approaching them.
- they are raptors and thus with good eyesight and eventually cannot be approached easily
- a min of 150-600mm , 400mm prime and 300mm prime lenses are required to photograph them .
- They are distinctive than other raptors and can be identified from their wing pattern while in flight .
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