Astur badius (Gmel.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 280 (1788) ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. i. p. 109 ; (Dresser), ix. p. 273, pl. 693 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iii. p. 398 ; A. dussumieri, Temm. Pl. Col. i. pls. 308, 336 (1824) ; A. cenchroides, Severtz. Turk. Jevot, p. 113 (1873).
Kyrgui, Tekke ; Shikra female Chipka male Hindu. ; Kurula-goya, Cing. ; Thane, Burm.
Male ad. (India). Upper parts ashy grey ; quills blackish towards the tip ; outer tail-feathers with blackish bars ; sides of head tinged with rufous ; chin whitish ; under parts rusty red narrowly barred with white ; bill dusky black ; cere, legs, and iris yellow. Gape 0.7, wing 7.5, tail 6.3, tarsus 2.0 inch. Female similar but larger. The young bird is brown above, the feathers at first with rufous edges ; conspicuous white bars on the head and nape ; all the tail-feathers barred ; under parts white with large elongate brown spots ; usually a median brown stripe on the throat.
Hab. Transcaspia ; Persia ; Turkestan ; the whole of India and Ceylon ; Burma ; Siam ; Cambodia, and southern China.
Extremely active and courageous in its habits this Hawk will attack birds larger than itself. It inhabits the plains, as well as the hills up to an altitude of about 5000 feet, and is not to be found in the thick forests or in the desert. Its flight is steady and direct, but it sometimes soars and circles at a con¬siderable altitude. Its note is a shrill two-note whistle or scream. It feeds on mice, insects, small reptiles, and birds, and will also take toll from the poultry yards. Its nest is a some¬what loose structure of small sticks, lined with line roots, and is placed at a considerable altitude in a tree, and its eggs, usually 4, but occasionally 5 in number, are bluish white, very seldom faintly marked with colour, and in size average about 1.55 by 1.22.
746. Astur badius