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Dark Chanting Goshawk - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Mybs
Matetsi Water Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, May 2005
Melierax metabates


Photo by Reini
Faraba banta, The Gambia, November 2005

43 -56 cm (17-22 in)

  • Slate-grey upperparts
  • White, finely barred underparts
  • Black and white tail
  • Grey wings with black tips
  • Coral pink cere and tarsi
  • Long tail
  • Broad wings, with a 105 cm wingspan


In flight, the wings are grey with black tips. The flight is stiff and mechanical.


Subspecies metabates
Photo by d.flack
Gambia, March 2018

Mainly sub-Saharan Africa: breeds from Senegal and Gambia east to The Red Sea coasts of Sudan and Ethiopia and south to Angola, north-east Namibia, northern Botswana, Zimbabwe and southern Mozambique. Absent from the closed forest of Central Africa, from most of South Africa, with the exception of the Kruger park, and the arid south-west. Mainly resident with dispersive movements in some areas in accordance to rains.

Also occurs within the Western Palearctic in a small part of central Morocco. This very isolated population is low in numbers and confined to the Sous Valley. Occasionally reported elswhere in Morocco in the Haut and Moyen Atlas and in the extreme north of the country but rarely seen today even in its former stronghold of the Sous. Moroccan population is mainly sedentary with some dispersal after breeding. In addition breeds in coastal areas of the south-west of the Arabian Peninsula.

A vagrant was recorded in Israel in April 1979, presumably originating from the Arabian population; also possibly recorded in the Dhofar of southern Oman.

The long-accepted Spanish record from 1963 is now rejected.

It is estimated that there are now less than 10 pairs of the Moroccan population left in the Souss valley. It may be possible to encounter the bird in "Talouine", but the species may actually be extinct in Morocco.



There are 5 subspecies[1]:

  • M. m. theresae: these are smaller and darker than the nominate
  • South-western Morocco but possibly extinct.
  • M. m. neumanni:
  • M. m. ignoscens:
  • M. m. metabates:
  • M. m. mechowi:


Open woodland, savanna and semi-desert, cultivated areas and plantations. Requires trees for nesting and uses termite-hills, fenceposts and treetops as lookout posts.


Usually seen alone or in pairs. Perches for long periods on a high perch.


Their diet consists primarily of lizards and snakes although it will also take birds and small mammals.


Its nest is built from sticks, and is placed in a tree. The clutch consits of 1-2 eggs.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2022. IOC World Bird List (v 12.2) DRAFT. Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.12.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved Apr 2018)
  4. Wikipedia
  5. BF Member observations
  6. A thread discussing identification features is here

Recommended Citation

External Links

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