Dark Chanting Goshawk (Melierax metabates)

Dark Chanting Goshawk

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Melierax metabates | [authority] Heuglin, 1861 | [UK] Dark Chanting Goshawk | [FR] Autour sombre | [DE] Grauburzel-Singhabicht | [ES] Azor-lagartijero Oscuro | [NL] Donkere Zanghavik


Monotypic species


The genus Melierax, in the Accipitridae family, contains four species of hawk. The dark chanting goshawk is a grey-colored hawk from Sub-Saharan Africa and derives its name from its unique vocalizations. The pale chanting goshawk and eastern chanting goshawk are also named for the distinct sounds that they make. The pale chanting goshawk is whiter in color while the eastern chanting goshawk has a bluish hue. The Gabar goshawk is cross listed between both the Melierax and the Micronisus genus.

Physical charateristics

Dark Chanting Goshawk is a large, long-tailed, broad-winged hawk, with a 105 cm wingspan. It is slate-grey above and white with fine barring below. The tail is black and white. In flight, the wings are grey with black tips. The flight is stiff and mechanical

wingspan min.: 95 cm wingspan max.: 105 cm
size min.: 43 cm size max.: 47 cm
incubation min.: 30 days incubation max.: 34 days
fledging min.: 36 days fledging max.: 50 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 2  


Africa : widespread


In sub-Saharan Africa, it occurs in moist, wooded savanna, favoring less arid and less open habitats than the other two species of this genus, so that their respective ranges overlap only marginally. This species also tends to perch more within the canopy of tall trees and is less inclined to perch on telephone poles than the Pale Chanting-goshawk


Breeding begins in early summer. Both members of the pair share nest-building duties. The small stick nest is placed in the fork of a large forest tree. The nest is lined dwith debis like old bird nests, spidercob and mud. The clutch is 1-2 eggs which are incubated for a month. Young fledge after about 7 weeks and will stay noisily in the vicienty of the nest for another 4 to 5 months.

Feeding habits

Feeds on dwarf mongooses, squirrels, mice, birds (up to the size of a guineafowl), snakes, lizards, and insects. Carrion is also taken. Perches for long periods on an exposed perch and dives to capture prey on the ground or after an aerial pursuit. This species has been observed using foraging Ground Hornbills and honey badgers (ratels) as “beaters,” perching just ahead of them and snatching prey that they flush. It also often attends grass fires to capture fleeing prey.

Video Dark Chanting Goshawk


copyright: Josep del Hoyo


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Dark Chanting Goshawk status Least Concern


Partial migrant but mostly sedentary in tropical areas. Nomadic in arid areas, East-west movements in the dry season of particularly dry years have been reported in Zimbabwe.

Distribution map

Dark Chanting Goshawk distribution range map

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