Pale Chanting Goshawk

Melierax canorus

The Pale Chanting Goshawk is one of the most commonly encountered birds of prey in its arid habitats, occupying dry savanna, semi-desert and Karoo scrubland in which there’s ample open ground and perches to hunt from. Small mammals, birds and reptiles make up the bulk of their prey, though they will also take insects and other invertebrates. Adults can weigh as much as 1.4kg, with a wingspan of up to 1.1m. As to the “chanting” in its name, after listening to this recording it will be perfectly clear to you.

Pale Chanting Goshawks are usually seen singly or in pairs but sometimes in family groups of five or more birds, sitting conspicuously on an elevated vantage point (such as a tree top or utility pole) from where they attack their prey. It is well documented that Pale Chanting Goshawks follow predators around, like the black-backed jackal or honey badger, in the hope that it can snatch any small prey the carnivore flushes from its hiding place.

While breeding attempts have been recorded almost throughout the year, there’s a noticable peak in nesting activity in the spring season. Nests are platforms of sticks lined with a wide variety of natural and man-made materials, placed on trees or artificial structures. Pairs are monogamous (though sometimes assisted by a third, usually male, individual) and males may fight to the death defending their territory. Both parents incubate the small clutch of 1 to 3 eggs for a period of about 5 weeks, with the hatchlings leaving the nest when they’re about 7 weeks old. While the youngsters are independent by 3 months old they will remain in their parents territory for up to a year.

The Pale Chanting Goshawk is common, even in farming areas, in southern Angola, Namibia, Botswana and western Zimbabwe and South Africa (everywhere except the eastern half of the Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal and the lowveld of Limpopo and Mpumalanga) and listed as being of least concern by the IUCN.


11 thoughts on “Pale Chanting Goshawk

  1. colonialist

    So they don’t favour us with their presence here in Natal. Pity.
    Do they chant, ‘I can beat you at dominoes’ as the Jewish man related is chanted in the Catholic Church before they go round collecting the bets? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


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