Monday, 28 September 2015

Day 319 - Super Sparrowhawks

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
Hey everyone today's Day 319 and today I am going to cover one that I should probably save until a milestone but I just couldn't wait to write a post and cover it - had to do a post on this fantastic bird. I have seen this particular bird in our back garden on our birds table, out the front in some trees, even while we have just been driving, but we've never managed to get a photograph of one. They are a bit fast! The bird in the photos was found in one of my Dad's work colleague's garden and when Dad sent the photos home I knew what the post I was doing today.

Now, I you might be thinking, a garden bird is it a sparrow, possibly a pigeon? Well while it's found in a garden this is more raptor sized. Probably because it is. Yes, from the pictures you'll recognise this as a Sparrow Hawk. This one is usually seen on my bird table, not feeding on the seeds, but what is actually feeding on the seeds. But we're pretty sure it hasn't taken anything out of our garden yet... Thankfully.

So, here are the facts on these swift predatory birds:

Perched waiting for a meal to come along
  • I am firstly going to start off with the facts that they are not actually that big, they are only 33cm long, sporting a rather measly 62cm wingspan...
  • ...Adding to this, they have a rather small weight, they are also sexually dimorphic,Females weighing about  260g and Males weighing just over half this at 150g. That's barely bigger than a Mistle Thrush! 
  • This is actually the largest size difference between two genders of birds in all of the bird kingdom! 
  • It is thought that this is the reason that the Male is much more agile. It makes them become better hunters of smaller birds. 
  • They have what is a rather eerie sort of crying call. A high-pitched 'Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah' call. You can here it in this video below.
  • When I was looking at some videos on Youtube of them, I came across an awful lot of 'Sparrow Hawk Attacks Magpie!' videos, but hardly any on other birds. I wonder why?
  • They are resident all over the UK apart from most of the islands, of the islands only the Isle of Man has resident Sparrow Hawks.
  • They are not only found in gardens but in most habitats where there are trees. They prefer to next n Conifers.
  • They hunt from a perch and launch off give a few flaps and the glide often close to the ground or along hedges to try and sneak up on their prey.
  • As the genders are different sizes they take quite a lot of species of birds from Woodpigeons, and thrushes to chaffinches and pippits.
  • There are actually quite a lot of breeding pairs of these in the UK. About 35,000 of them. There population is stable and they have a Green Status.
  • This is quite a difference to the 1950s and 60s where its numbers crashed, this is prbably why it's a Green Status as they have inclined dramatically.
  • They first breed at 1 year and usually live for 4. The oldest recorded Hawk did love for a respectable 17 years, 1 month and 11 days.
  • Their Latin name (Accipiter nisus) means: Accipiter = Hawk and Nisus = The Sparrowhawk. Hawk the Sparrowhawk, an interesting name.
  • The females are sometimes confused with Goshawks and I found a great BTO guide on how to tell the difference.

Here are a few links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful bird Zach and these photos are stunning! - Tasha