Eastern Chanting Goshawk (Melierax poliopterus)

Eastern Chanting Goshawk

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Melierax poliopterus | [authority] Cabanis, 1869 | [UK] Eastern Chanting Goshawk | [FR] Autour a ailes grises | [DE] Weissburzel-Singhabicht | [ES] Azor lagartijero Somali | [NL] Bleke Zanghavik


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Melierax poliopterus AF e


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

The Eastern Chanting Goshawk is a large, upright-perching hawk which, even as a juvenile, is easily recognisable from its long bare legs and tarsi and distinctive barring. Overall color is grey with an black unbarred tail. In the adult birds males and females are similarly coloored and marked but females tend to be larger. Most distinctive feature is, in flight, the pure white lower underbelly as opposed to the barred underbelly of congeners.

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 45 cm size max.: 50 cm
incubation min.: 36 days incubation max.: 38 days
fledging min.: 49 days fledging max.: 56 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 2  


Africa : East


Occurs in savanna, steppe, semi-arid, and arid regions. Most common in undisturbed dry savanna grassland with scattered bushes and thorn trees, generally occurring in drier habitats than the Dark Chanting-goshawk. Usually found singly, or in pairs on exposed perches, including camel humps


Lays at the end of the rainy season, most likely a biannual breeder. Display behavior shown nocturnal at oonlit nights, consisting of aerial displays and calling. Builds small platorm of twigs, usually in canopy of a dense leaved tree. The nest is lined with dry grass and other debris. Clutch size is 1-2 eggs incubated for about 5 weeks. The young fledge after another 7-8 weeks. Almost always only one chick leaves the nest, but no cainism or sibling rivalry observed.

Feeding habits

Preys on small birds, rodents, lizards, and insects, hunting mainly on the ground. Often seen perching in the open on the top of a bush or low thorn tree.

Video Eastern 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.
Eastern Chanting Goshawk status Least Concern


Probably mostly sedentary, but regular northward migration has been reported from southeastern Kenya between January-March (

Distribution map

Eastern Chanting Goshawk distribution range map

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