Short legged hawk | Facts & Information

# Short-legged hawk | Facts & Information

Short-legged hawk | Discover Fascinating Facts and Information About Short-legged hawk

The short-legged hawk is a monotypic, small raptor species belonging to the Accipitridae.

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Short-legged Hawk

Short-legged hawk










It prefers warm, arid or semiarid areas, Hills with Southern Exposure. It nests in stands or stands of old or middle-aged deciduous trees, favoring oak and oak trees.

In many of the regions it also uses habitats with rocks and scree with spoiled old trees. It can be found mainly in regions with low altitudes, with an affinity to lowland and hilly areas.

In Europe it nests mainly on the Balkans, in Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. In addition to this, there are populations in Asia Minor, Turkey, Gruzia, Armenia, Ukraine and southern Russia. In Hungary it nests irregularly in a few pairs. In many places the distribution is punctiform, without a continuous distribution area.

In our country it is commonly found in Dobrogea, being spread in the south and south west of taii (Muntenia, Oltenia and southern Banat).

It is a species whose population is difficult to assess, a large part of which is in Russia, an area little researched and known. The world herd is estimated at 10,000-100,000 specimens.

The European one is estimated at 3,700-6,500 pairs. In our country the estimated herd is 70-80 nesting pairs. Due to the hidden way of life during the nesting period, as well as the possibility of its confusion with the bird hawk, exact data on population dynamics are not known.

In Romania it seems that the herd shows a slight increase and the species extends its range, initially being known only as brooding species only in Dobrogea. Some sources cite, however, that the population has a decline of more than 30% in ten years, so over three generations.

The English name of the species (Levant Sparrowhawk) is due to the fact that the majority of the herd passes over the region called the Levant. Birds from Europe migrate across the Bosphorus, Israel and Egypt, reaching the wintering quarters of Africa. Migratory flocks from Asia use the route between the Black and Caspian Seas.

Feeding the short-legged hawk

The short-legged hawk has a very diverse menu consisting of reptiles (lizards), small birds, large insects and small mammals.

Food is captured both from a panda spot on a tree or rock, and from the air.

The birds often sit on dry branches where they prey on the ground.

In autumn, towards the end of august, early September the birds gather in groups to begin their migration. It migrates in large flocks contrary to its close relative the passerine Hawk (Accipiter nisus).

Features short-legged hawk

The adult male has a grey-blue head and upper body. Of the same color is the tail which has 6-8 darker transverse bands.

The wings are sharper compared to other representatives of the genus from the IOC in the country. The first primary remiges are blackish in colour which gives the wing tip a very noticeable contrast to the rest of the wing, especially on the lower wing, which is open.

The breast and belly is white with thin reddish-orange transverse stripes and white subcodal feathers.

The iris is purple-brown unlike the other two species of the genus found in our country. The female has a larger waist than the male. It has a brownish-grey head and upper body. The tip of the wing is also darker than the rest of the wing, but it is much less visible than in the male.

From a small distance one can also distinguish a small, dark vertical stripe on the anterior part of the neck. The breast and belly is whitish with dense reddish-brown transverse bands. Young birds resemble females, with a predominantly brownish coloration, but the anterior part of the body shows longitudinal Brown splashes and not transverse bands.

The tip of the wing shows no visible contrast as in adults. Unlike adults, the young have a thin open supercilium. The eyes are brown. It has a characteristic flight of Hawks, but the hovering Bird gives the impression of a hawk due to its narrower and sharp wings.

It is very similar to the passerine Hawk (Accipiter nisus) from which it distinguishes its behavior and some plumage characters. The Ceroma and legs are yellow and the beak black, regardless of gender and age.

Waist: 30-37 cm, wingspan is 63-76 cm. As a rule, they have a weight of 180 -200 g.

Breeding short-legged hawk

It is a migratory species that comes to us towards the end of April – early May. After this the pair make their nuptial flight over the guarded territory. The male continues the characteristic nuptial flight throughout the nesting and drives away from the perimeter of the nest even birds of much larger size than his waist.

Apart from this territorial behaviour the pair lead a hidden life during this period. The pair builds their nest on old trees from dry branches, being lined inside with thin twigs and branches with green leaves.

The nest is usually only used for one year, each year building a new nest near the previous year. The female lays a ponta containing 3-5 greenish-blue eggs with brownish gray splashes, the incubation of which is 30-35 days.

The chicks hatch in June, staying in the nest for a period of approx. 40 days. The female begins hatching immediately after laying the first egg. The chicks after leaving the nest remain around it, moving on the adjacent branches, returning to the nest for the night.

They reach sexual maturity only at the age of one year, some of these young can even start nesting in the year following hatching, when they still present an intermediate plumage between the juvenile and the adult.

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