Distribution / Range
The Shikra is a widespread resident breeder throughout south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Shikra is a bird of open woodland including savannah and cultivation.
It nests in trees, building a new nest each year. It lays 3-7 eggs.
This bird is a small raptor (26-30cm) with short broad wings and a long tail, both adaptations to fast manoeuvring. The normal flight of this species is a characteristic “flap – flap – glide”.
The adult Shikra has pale grey upperparts, and is white, finely barred reddish below. Males and females look alike except that female is larger than the male.
The juvenile is brown above and white, spotted with brown below. It has a barred tail.
Diet / Feeding
Its hunting technique is similar to other small hawks such as Sparrowhawk, A. nisus, or Sharp-shinned Hawk, A. striatus, relying on surprise as it flies from a hidden perch or flicks over a bush to catch its prey unaware.
The prey is lizards, dragonflies, and small birds and mammals.
A roller coaster at Busch Gardens Africa, SheiKra, was named after this bird.
In the computer game PRISM: Guard Shield by Rival Interactive and Rebellion Studios (and sponsored by the US Army National Guard) the primary sniper rifle is named the Shikra Mk7.
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