Fiji goshawk

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Fiji goshawk
Fiji goshawk savusavu june 2008.JPG
Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Accipiter
Species: A. rufitorques
Binomial name
Accipiter rufitorques
(Peale, 1848)

The Fiji goshawk (Accipiter rufitorques) is a species of bird of prey in the family Accipitridae. It was once considered to be the same species (conspecific) as the brown goshawk of Australia and New Caledonia. It is endemic to Fiji, where it occurs on the larger islands of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Kadavu, Gau and Ovalau.[2] It occupies a range of wooded habitats in Fiji, from natural rainforest to coconut plantations and urban gardens and parks.[3]

The Fiji goshawk ranges in size from 30–40 cm, making it medium-sized for its genus. It exhibits sexual dimorphism, with the females being larger than the males.[3] It has long legs and a long tail. The plumage is unmistakable within its range, having a grey head, back, tail and wings and dull pink undersides and collar. The plumage of the juvenile is distinct from the adult, being all over brown with a highly streaked breast.[2]

The Fiji goshawk feeds on birds as large as pigeons, insects, introduced rodents and reptiles.[3] and have also been recorded feeding on freshwater prawns from the family Palaemonidae,[4] as well as freshwater fish. This species hunts both from perches or flying. Prey may be snatched with either a slow and stealthy glide or a quick flapping attack. Prey may be chased into cover and they will actively harass and attempt to flush concealed prey.

Fiji goshawks are seasonal breeders, with the breeding season occurring between July and December.[5] Most eggs are laid between September and October. The nest is a platform of sticks located high in a lightly vegetated tree. The typical clutch size is two to three eggs (occasionally four), of which up to two chicks are commonly fledged.[3]

Although the species is today considered to be endemic to Fiji, fossil bones attributed to this species have been found on the island of 'Eua in Tonga.[6] The species may once have occurred in the Lau group of Fiji as well.[7] Fiji goshawks will occasionally take chickens and are often shot. They are nevertheless common and live at high densities.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Accipiter rufitorques". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Pratt, H Douglas; Bruner, Phillip; Berrett, Delwyn (1987). The Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 356. ISBN 0-691-08402-5. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Thiollay, J.M. (1994): Family Accipitridae (Hawks and Eagles) in del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A. & Sargatal, J. (editors). (1994). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 84-87334-15-6
  4. ^ Clunie, Fergus (1980). "Harriers fishing" (PDF). Notornis. 27 (2): 114. 
  5. ^ Clunie, Fergus (1981). "Nesting season of the Fiji Goshawk" (PDF). Notornis. 28 (2). 
  6. ^ Steadman, David (1993). "Biogeography of Tongan birds before and after human impact". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 90 (3): 818–822. doi:10.1073/pnas.90.3.818. 
  7. ^ Steadman, David (2006). Extinction and Biogeography in Tropical Pacific Bird. University of Chicago Press. pp. 360–361. ISBN 978-0-226-77142-7.