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Sparrowhawk All You want to know

Sparrowhawks Scientific Name

The scientific name of this Sparrowhawk is Accipiter Nisus. Also known the Eurasian Sparrowhawk. With stunning eye colour and long, yellow talons, this tiny but agile predator can be seen swooping down to snare its prey without warning. A fervently wooded species the sparrowhawk was at risk in the past, however it is now widespread across the UK.

Sparrowhawk Introduction

Sparrowhawk are tiny predator of the birds. They’re designed to hunt birds in tight spaces such as dense woodlands, and gardens make excellent hunting grounds for the birds. Adult male sparrowhawk are blueish-grey in their wings and back, and orange-brown bars around their belly and chest. 

The females as well as young birds sport brown wings and backs with brown bars under. Sparrowhawk are bright yellow or orange eyes with long yellow legs, and long talons. Females are bigger than males, just like the majority of birds.

What is the best way to identify a sparrowhawk?

Sparrowhawk has tiny broad-winged raptors that have long tails as well as long, thin legs. Adult males sport slate-grey upper parts, with fine Rufus barring under. Females’ upper parts have a brownish Gray as well as less Rufus bars than the male. They have a prominent white line over the eye.

What is the best place to see sparrowhawk?

Sparrowhawk are seen throughout the year. They are a breeder in woodlands but they also venture into gardens and open countryside in addition to cities and towns. They are seen throughout all of the UK with the exception of areas within the Scottish Highlands. Watch out for alarm sounds of smaller birds that be a sign that a sparrowhawk is in close proximity.

What is Sparrowhawk population trend and history?

As a species dependent on woodland, the loss of forest throughout the British Isles over many millennia has drastically reduced the number of individuals. But, the persecution of gamekeepers in around the year 1840 (when guns were able to have a negative impact) all the way to 1961 when the species received legal protection further diminished the number of people. 

A certain amount of illegal persecution unfortunately, continues until this day, especially on estates for sports.

Additionally the use of DDT pesticides during the 1950s and 60s led to another dramatic decline within the Sparrowhawk population and the negative effects of the poison within the food chain causing infertility and the thinning of eggshells, which could have resulted in the chick’s development was sick or an egg broke by the female while brooding. 

However, the good news is that after having DDT removed from the food chain the population recovered strongly from beginning of the 1970s, but it has slowed down somewhat from the mid-1990s.

Sparrowhawk Identification

Scientific name Accipiter Nisus
Length28-40 cm  (12-16″)
Wing Span60-80 cm  (24-32″)
Weight150-320 g  (5-11 oz)
Breeding Pairs32000
PresentAll Year
Male sparrowhawksGrey-blue upper parts with finely barred pale underparts
Female sparrowhawksLike male but larger and grey-brown upper parts.

Classification of Sparrowhawk species

1.Young Sparrowhawk (less then one year old)

Young sparrowhawk has sport brown backs and wings, with chestnut-brown edges that are visible on the feathers. The breast feathers of their species have brown streaks, or chevrons. Female sparrowhawk in adulthood are brownish, they have horizontal bar on their breast feathers as well as greyer wings and back.

2. Adult male Sparrowhawk

Adult male sparrowhawk has sport orange breasts, and slate-grey or blueish backs and wings. As they grow older their eyes change towards orange from yellow.

3. Kestrel 

Kestrels are sometimes seen in gardens, however sparrowhawk are more frequent visitors. If you are able to spot their eyes, you will see that sparrowhawk are spry with orange or yellow eyes, whereas the eyes of kestrels are completely dark.

4. Peregrine 

Peregrines are breeding successfully in a variety of UK cities right now however, a bird that has killed an opossum in your backyard will likely be the sparrowhawk. Also, take a check the peregrine eyes are dark.

5. Merlin 

In 99% of garden conditions Merlin are eliminated. They’re perfectly suited for hunting in open areas as enclosed gardens aren’t their thing. You’re unlikely to find one perched on a roof or fence. In contrast to sparrowhawk, Merlin, and other falcons are always sporting all-dark eyes.

6. Goshawk 

Goshawks are often resemble sparrowhawks (a large female sparrowhawk may appear to be about identical to the male goshawk) However they aren’t actually ‘in gardens. They are extremely timid birds that live in large areas of woodland, or large tracts of open land.

What is the Habitat of sparrowhawks?

The most important prerequisite for growing is woodland, but this could be deciduous coniferous, or mixed. Furthermore, areas that contain lots of trees, such as large parks and gardens in the suburbs are also used. In the absence of breeding season and during hunter, Sparrowhawk are seen across a wide range of habitats, including around the coastline cliffs.

What is the UK Breeding of sparrowhawk?

About 35,000 breeding pairs and an estimated UK Conservation status at present at amber.

What is sparrowhawks eats?

Its diet for the Sparrowhawk is mostly small birds, although sometimes bats are consumed. Because female Sparrowhawks are bigger than males, they can take on larger birds and even kill anything up to the size of an Wood Pigeon. 

A male Sparrowhawks is limited in the range of the Mistle thrush but for female and male birds, they’re more likely to take smaller birds than the two examples. 

Additionally there’s no specific preference for one species of prey, with what is readily available, the most diverse and easily caught is the best choice, which is why finches are frequently attracted to the bird feeders in gardens. 

Thrushes such as Blackbirds are also taken into gardens. In the fledgling season of songbirds about 40 percent of the diet of the Sparrowhawk is composed of birds that are young, such as Starlings Buntings, titmice and other varieties of tit.

Sometimes Sparrowhawks may also capture and devour small mammals, even – perhaps shockingly rodents.

Do Sparrowhawk decrease the population of songbirds?

No Sparrowhawk don’t reduce population of songbirds. It’s an untruthful assumption that they can. There is a positive correlation between healthy population of local songbirds as well as the population of Sparrowhawks. 

Thus, with enough prey Sparrowhawk can successfully breed, however without enough prey, the chances are less for them to achieve success. In context, it’s important to noting that songbird species usually have large broods and usually multiple broods the same season. This is due to the fact that fatalities are quite high. 

The reason for these deaths can be various and predication by Sparrowhawks being a comparatively low percentage.

What is Sparrowhawk breeds and nests behaviours?

The male Sparrowhawk is the main one responsible for nest building. It is usually located within the forks of trees or at the bottom of a branch against the tree’s trunk, and with preferential preference to conifers. The nest is typically high up in the canopy, and is hidden from view and is made up of a sturdy platform made of twigs, and is sometimes covered with bark flakes.

The brood consists of 3-6 eggs. The incubation performed by the female on her own as well as brooding the babies until they’re old enough maintain their body temperature. In all this period the male bird provides food to each female as well as the the young.

What is the hunting behaviour of Sparrowhawk?

Sparrowhawk are fascinating birds to observe, their hunting behaviour appears to be bordering on ludicrous because they are extremely risky when navigating through trees or other obstacles to capture prey.

In this regard, and during the initial stage of hunting it is believed that a Sparrowhawk will attempt to reach its target from the side of the road which is why they use the concealment of hedgerows, buildings, unidirectional swoops on the ground and more. To be close to the target before launching a final volley in the direction of its target at speeds up to 50 kph. In spite of all this effort, it’s highly likely that less than one in 10 attempts are successful and end in a death.


The Sparrowhawk is a raptor well-adapted for hunting small birds in wooded areas. The female bird is larger than the male, and is brown on the back and wings, with brown bars on its pale underparts and breast. Female Sparrowhawks have a wingspan of up to 70cm, with the male’s being nearer to 55cm. Of the UK’s birds of prey, the Sparrowhawk is by far the most likely to visit gardens. In the UK sparrowhawks are found everywhere, except for parts of the Scottish Highlands, the Western Isles and Shetland.


Q1. What is the scientific name of Sparrowhawk?

The scientific name of Sparrowhawk is Accipiter Nisus.

Q2. How we can identify the Sparrowhawk?

Sparrowhawk are tiny broad-winged raptors that have long tails as well as long, thin legs.

Q3. How many Breeding of sparrowhawk found in UK?

About 35,000 breeding pairs of sparrowhawk found in UK.

Q4. What is the difference between male and female sparrowhawk?

Male sparrowhawk has Grey-blue upper parts with finely barred pale underparts while female sparrowhawk has same as male but larger and grey-brown upper parts.