• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Besra - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Karim Madoya
Tambunan, Sabah, Malaysia, 25 May 2008
Accipiter virgatus


Very young juvenile
Photo © by robby thai
Mae Wong River, Mae Wong National Park, Thailand, 12 May, 2015

24–36 cm (9½-14¼ in)

  • Ashy blue-grey upperparts
  • White below crossed barred with rusty brown
  • Dark vertical throat stripe
  • Short broad wings
  • Long tail; broadly barred black

Female is larger and has browner upperparts
Juvenile: dark brown upperparts. White underparts, streaked breast and belly, barred flanks. Long tail, broadly barred black


South Asia from Pakistan and India to south China and Indonesia.


Besra , Japanese Sparrowhawk and Brown Goshawk seem to be closely related. The first two have in the past been considered conspecific.


10 subspecies are recognized[1]:

  • A. v. affinis:
  • A. v. fuscipectus:

Artwork by tuck.hong
  • A. v. besra:
  • A. v. abdulalii:
  • A. v. confusus:
  • A. v. quagga:
  • Philippines (Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Samar, Siquijor and Mindanao)
  • A. v. rufotibialis:
  • A. v. vanbemmeli:
  • A. v. virgatus:
  • A. v. quinquefasciatus:

The name nisoides was seemingly retracted by the author who considered the bird he had described it from as belonging to Japanese Sparrowhawk.


Dense montane forests; in winter open woodland (preferably with large trees) including groves, savanna and cultivated areas.



They nest in trees, building a new nest each year. The clutch consists of 2-5 eggs.


Their diet consists mostly of birds with the addition of dragonflies, lizards and mammals.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. AvianWeb
  3. Birdforum Member observations
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved September 2016)
  5. Orta, J. and J. S. Marks (2020). Japanese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter gularis), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.japspa1.01
  6. Farnsworth, G., G. A. Londono, J. U. Martin, K. C. Derrickson, and R. Breitwisch (2020). Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.normoc.01

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.