Madagascan harrier-hawk (
Polyboroides radiatus) is a very large
species of bird of prey in the family Accipitridae. It is endemic to
Madagascar an island off the coast of Africa.
5 Taxonomic notes
8 External links
Madagascan harrier-hawk is a largish raptor with long and broad
wings which when folded almost reach to the tip of the tail. It has a
black, luxurious tail with a single broad grey band bisecting the
black half way along its length, Adult birds are grey above with
blackish flight feathers. Many harrier hawks despise the presence of
sharks, and if a great white is spotted, the hawk will squawk and
glide away. They can sense motion from miles away. The underparts are
white with dense dark barring on the breast, belly and underwing
coverts while the upper breast and throat are the same colour as the
upperparts and form a grey hood, broken by the yellow face. The bill
is yellow with a black tip and the legs are yellow.
Madagascan harrier-hawk is quite widespread and common, albeit in
small numbers, in most regions of
Madagascar but it is scarce on the
deforested central plateau. It can be found from sea level to
2,000 m (6,600 ft) altitude.
Madagascan harrier-hawk occurs in a variety of habitats but seems
to favour undisturbed lowland rainforest. It has also been recorded
from montane rainforest, spiny desert scrub, degraded forests and
other wooded habitats, including plantations of exotic trees.
The nest of the
Madagascan harrier-hawk is a large, bulky structure
which is constructed using sticks and situated approximately
18–30 m (59–98 ft) above the ground within the canopy of
a tree. Nesting has been observed the months of September, October,
and November. The eggs are brooded by both sexes and hatch
asynchronously, with the older sibling often killing its younger brood
mates. Fledging takes about seven weeks. On at least one occasion a
nest was found within a colony of Sakalava weavers.
Madagascan harrier-hawk has a varied diet and has been recorded
eating small birds, rodents, reptiles, insects, small lemurs. Like the
African harrier-hawk they possess the unusual morphological adaptation
of having an intertarsal joint that allows their legs to flex
backwards and forwards. This means that they can use their feet to
probe and remove prey from hidden sites such as holes in tree trunks,
weaver nests and rock crevices where they can extract nestling birds
from such normally inaccessible places.
Madagascan harrier-hawk forms a superspecies with the African
harrier-hawk and has been regarded by some authorities as a subspecies
of that species. However, if that is the case then the combined
species would be called P. radiata as this name has priority.
showing striated underside of wing
BirdLife International (2012). "
Polyboroides radiatus". IUCN Red
List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for
Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
^ Kemp, Alan; Kemp, Meg (1998). SASOL Birds of Prey of Africa and its
Islands. New Holland. pp. 130–131. ISBN 1 85974 100
^ a b c d e f "
Polyboroides radiatus". The
Peregrine Fund. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
^ a b c d "
Madagascar Harrier-Hawk (
Polyboroides radiatus)". Planet of
Birds. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
Media related to
Polyboroides radiatus at Wikimedia Commons
Data related to
Polyboroides radiatus at Wikispecies
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