Scientific Name: Melierax canorus
Tour: Addo River Safari, Addo Park Tour
It generally prefers Karoo shrubland, Kalahari woodland, Mopane (Colosphermum mopane) woodland, Acacia thornveld and riverine woodland in the Namib Desert – any habitat with patches of open ground (exposing prey) and perches to hunt from.
Near-endemic to southern Africa, occurring from south-western Angola to Namibia, Botswana, south-western Zimbabwe and the western half of South Africa.
It mainly eats mammals, doing most of its hunting from a perch, descending to the ground to pursue and strike it’s prey. It sometimes forages in family groups, so that some of the family members can flush prey, which another family member hunts down. It also follows Black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas), Honey badgers (Mellivora capensis), Slender mongooses (Galerella sanguinea), Rock monitors (Varanus albigularis) and Cape cobras (Naja nivea), catching the prey that they disturb.
- Mainly monogamous, but in the Little Karoo it may be cooperatively polyandrous, as one female can mate with a primary male, while another male assists them with breeding activities (occasionally mating with the female). This behaviour only occurs in high-quality territories, which have to be viciously defended. In fact, males from opposing territories sometimes fight to the death.
- The nest is built by both sexes (including an additional male if it they are a trio), consisting of a stick platform with a central cup. This can be lined with a wide variety of materials, including dung, regurgitated carnivore pellets, hair, wool, penduline-tit nests, Common ostrich feathers, webs of Social spider (Stegodyphus dumicola), grass, fabric, paper, string, rope, plastic bags and cabling. When it builds a new nest each breeding season, it often moves the lining from the old structure to the new one.