Harriet Smith Photography


"For The Love of Africa"

AFRICAN SAFARIS - Trips Of A Lifetime

The Food Chain

Country               South Africa
Provinces            Mpumalanga and Limpopo
Location:             Kruger National Park
Camp                   Shingwedzi Rest Camp

Picture of a proud Gabar Goshawk mere seconds after it swooped down from a high perch to snare the now dead bird in flight.  The  prey never knew what hit it.  The Gabar Goshawk belongs to the family group which includes birds such as Raptors, Old Vultures, Osprey. It occurs through much of sub-Saharan Africa and is typically found in wooded savannah, Mopani, thorn bush and open woodland. It has largely gray upper parts, conspicuous white and grey barring on the chest, thighs and under wings, a white rump and a dark gray, barred tail.  Adult females are significantly larger than adult males, and weigh around 90 percent more.

The Food Chain

Small birds form the bulk of the gabar goshawk's diet, with small mammals, reptiles and insects also taken on occasion. Prey is typically flushed from trees and caught following an energetic and persistent chase.  Alternatively, the gabar goshawk hunts from the perch, swooping down to catch prey off the ground or in flight.  It then takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten.  The diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws. The Gabar Goshawk uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh. It also eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants.

The gabar goshawk is generally considered to be sedentary.  Although often observed alone, pairs are also common, particularly during the breeding season.  The small platform nest is typically made from thin twigs and positioned high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foliage. The female usually between 2 to 4 eggs and they are colored blue, which are  incubated for a little over a month before hatching. The Gabar Goshawk is a monogamous bird.
This picture was taken at Shingwedzi Rest Camp, lying in the mopane zone to the far north of Kruger National Park. 
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