Shikra Accipiter badius


Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (extent of occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) estimated the global population at around 1,000,000 individuals or 400,000 (minimum) breeding pairs which equates to 800,000 mature individuals. The European population is estimated at 50-210 pairs, which equates to 100-410 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). The Arabian population is estimated at 600 breeding pairs, equating to 1,200 mature individuals (Jennings 2010). It is placed in the band 500,000 to 999,999 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. In Europe the population size trend is unknown (BirdLife International 2015). Population size in some areas appears to be increasing, for example around Dubai (Campbell 2019).

Distribution and population

Accipiter badius is widely distributed throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and southern Asia. Although resident throughout much of its range, birds breeding at the Palearctic edge of the range regularly migrate south for the winter, departing in September/ October and returning mid April-early May (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). Birds in West Africa tend to move further south to breed during the dry season, returning north in the rainy season (Grimes 1987; Gatter 1997; Borrow and Demey 2001).


The species inhabits a wide range of dry habitats with trees, including deciduous woodland, savanna, plantations and gardens, but avoids closed canopy or dense woodland (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). It has been recorded from sea-level to 2,000 m, occasionally reaching altitudes of 3,000 m in Africa (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001) and Saudi Arabia (Jennings 2010). 

Breeding occurs throughout the year depending on location, but usually  at the end of a dry season. A small, saucer-shaped nest of sticks is built on a horizontal branch or in a fork, generally 5-16 m above ground (Ananian et al. 2010). Typically 3-4 eggs are laid, which are incubated for 30-35 days (Harrison and Castell 2002). Upon hatching, chicks are fed predominantly by the female, provisioned by the male (Tarboton 2001). Diet consists mainly of lizards, geckos, skinks and small birds (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).


Globally there are no major threats to this species. However in its West African range, habitat degradation owing to wood harvesting, burning and overgrazing, as well as insecticides used to control locust outbreaks are potential threats (Thiollay 2006). Consumptive use also poses a potential threat in some parts of its range. In Thailand, illegal trade of Accipiter badius has been recorded since 1968 (Siriwat and Nijman 2020) and continues to take place, predominantly via social media (Panter and White 2020, Siriwat and Nijman 2020). There is also evidence of trade of the species in India (TRAFFIC 2016a, Ahmed 1997), Vietnam (TRAFFIC 2016b), and West and Central Africa (Buij et al. 2016). The species has a long standing tradition of use in falconry in India and Pakistan (Ali and Arshad 2010, Ahmed 1997), while trade in Africa is primarily for bushmeat and traditional medicine (Buij et al. 2016, Williams et al. 2014). However, there is no evidence to suggest that trade of the species is causing significant population decline.

Conservation actions

Conservation actions underway 
The species is listed on CITES Appendix II, CMS Appendix II, Raptors MoU Category 2, and Bern Convention Appendix II. 

Conservation actions proposed 
Although not currently considered globally threatened and with an apparently stable population, further research on potential threats to the species and monitoring of population and trade trends will help to identify any changes in threat status and inform future conservation measures.


Text account compilers
Haskell, L.

Ashpole, J, Harding, M., Ekstrom, J. & Butchart, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Accipiter badius. Downloaded from on 09/06/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 09/06/2023.