Sparrow Hawk (Accipiter nisus)

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Size 28 - 38 cm weight 130 - 320 g


Adult males have a slate grey back and white underparts, closely barred with orange. . The grey tail has 4-5 dark bars. Females are larger, with brown upperparts, a white stripe over the eye and dark barring underneath. They appear heavier than males. Their broad, rounded wings and long tail are adapted for flying between trunks and branches enabling them to weave in and out of trees at high speed. A key feature is they never hover like kestrels.




Preferred habitat is conifer woodlands for nesting but are also found in broad-leaved woodland and even thick hedgegrows. Recently have spread into urban parks and cemeteries mean they are now regular garden visitors. Territories tend to be traditional and will build new nests each year. They prefer open country close to woodland to hunt around.

What Does The Sparrowhawk Sound Like ?

Call is a harsh, chattering 'kek-kek-kek..'


Almost exclusively on small birds up to the size of wood pigeon or partridge , rarely mice


May - July , 4 - 6 eggs, incubation 33 - 35 days, young fledge in 24 - 30 days . Nests in trees /

Similar Birds

Kestrel, Goshawk, Merlin.