Shikra

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Shikra

 

(Accipiter badius), a predatory bird of the family Accipitridae. The body measures 30–38 cm in length. The females are larger than the males. The dorsal side of the body in males is grayish blue, and the ventral side has narrow reddish transverse stripes. In females the dorsal side is more brown and the stripes on the ventral side are broader.

The shikra is distributed in southeastern Europe, the tropical regions of Africa, and South Asia. In the USSR it is found in the southern European part of the country, the Caucasus, and Middle Asia. A migratory bird, it lives in floodplain forests, groves, orchards, and parks with tall, old trees, nesting high in the trees. There are three or four eggs in a clutch. The female broods 33–35 days. The shikra feeds on lizards, rodents, large insects, and small birds. In Middle Asia it is a beneficial bird, as it feeds on sparrows.