Pale chanting goshawks( Melirax canorus) are one of the most commonly seen raptors in Southern Africa. They are striking birds with orange beaks and legs with grey white and black bodies. I often see them on telephone wires or other perches, scanning the ground and the air for prey. They eat mostly small mammals and birds like Queleas and finches but like a good lizard or large insect too. This one in the picture is eating what looks like a Praying Mantis. What is great about them if you like taking pictures is that they like to “pose” for the camera. This characteristic enabled me to get these shots. This is generally a rather quiet bird, but during the breeding season the male makes a series of tuneful whistling calls kleeuu, kleeuu-ku-ku-ku from a tree-top perch.
Females will usually mate with one male, but sometimes they will be polyandrous. This means the female will mate with more than one male and he will usually do most of the work raising the chicks. Great system hey ladies!
The relatively small stick nest is built in an acacia tree at a height of 3 to 10 m. The female lays and incubates one or two pale bluish or greenish white, unmarked eggs. Only one chick is normally reared from a nest of two. The breeding cycle begins in midwinter and takes over 115 days. The young after leaving the nest may be found near it for some months and in the following year may even display in the same area. Some pairs and especially trios raise a second brood, starting about 24 days after the first brood fledges.
– Written by Chantel (one of our guides)