Besra Sparrowhawk

Conservation status

Least Concern

Population Trend


Alternate Names


Native Habitat



Small Birds, Squirrels, Mice


Besra Sparrowhawk

Accipiter virgatus

The besra is a widespread resident breeder in dense forests throughout southern Asia, ranging from the Indian subcontinent eastwards across Southeast Asia and into East Asia. It nests in trees, building a new nest each year. It lays 2 to 5 eggs.

This bird is a medium-sized raptor (29 to 36 cm) with short broad wings and a long tail, both adaptations to fast manoeuvring. The normal flight of this species is a characteristic 'flap–flap–glide', and the barred underwings are a distinction from the shikra.

This species is like a darker version of the widespread shikra, but all plumages have a dark vertical throat stripe. The adult male besra has dark blue-grey upperparts, and is white, barred reddish below. The larger female is browner above than the male. The juvenile is dark brown above and white, barred with brown below. It has a barred tail.

Regional Names
  • Gujarati:
    બેસ્રા શકરો
  • Hindi:
    बेसरा (मादा), खंड बेसरा (मादा), खंडेसरा (मादा), धूति (नर)
  • Kannada:
    ಕರಿ ಗುಬ್ಬಿಗಿಡುಗ
  • Malayalam:
    ബസ്ര പ്രാപ്പിടിയൻ
  • Marathi:
    बसेरा, बेसरा चिमणमार ससाणा
  • Nepali:
  • Sanskrit:
  • Tamil:
    சின்ன வல்லூறு
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Accipiter virgatus