Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipter nisus)
Male Sparrowhawk, Kato Zakros, Crete, Greece, October 2002 - click for larger image

The Eurasian Sparrowhawk is found in every country of Europe except Iceland, in much of Asia and in parts of Africa, especially on migration.

Female Sparrowhawk, Kato Zakros, Crete, Greece, October 2002 - click for larger image As its widespread distribution suggests, it is tolerant of a fairly wide range of habitats provided there is some woodland for both breeding and feeding.

It feeds almost entirely on birds and requires cover from which to spring its surprise attacks as well as reasonably open flight paths.

Hooded Crow chasing Male Sparrowhawk, Kato Zakros, Crete, Greece, October 2002 - click for larger image There is marked sexual dimorphism and the female can be up to 25% larger than the male. This can be seen in the third photo where the male is being chased by a Hooded Crow Corvus cornix compared to the fourth photo where the same Hooded Crow is being chased by a female. If we assume that the Hooded Crow's wingspan is about 90 cms, this would give the male a wingspan of about 60 cms and the female a wingspan of about 75 cms.
Female Sparrowhawk chasing Hooded Crow, Kato Zakros, Crete, Greece, October 2002 - click for larger image This makes the Eurasian Sparrowhawk a relatively small raptor. Note the rather short and broad wings with bluntish tips and the long tail with 4 to 5 bars.

The male has slate-gray upperparts, rufous cheeks and rufous barring on the breats and belly. The female is more brown-gray on the underparts.

Female Sparrowhawk, Hadleigh, Suffolk, England, April 2005 - click for larger image
Female Sparrowhawk, Hadleigh, Suffolk, England, April 2005 - click for larger image
Juvenile Sparrowhawk, Aberlady, East Lothian, Scotland, October 2006 - click for larger image
Juvenile Sparrowhawk, Aberlady, East Lothian, Scotland, October 2006 - click for larger image
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