Accipiter cirrocephalus


Collared Sparrowhawk


The Collared Sparrowhawk is a medium-sized, finely built raptor with wide staring bright yellow eyes. The upperparts and side of the head are slate- grey, with a complete chestnut half-collar. The underparts are finely barred pale rufous on white and the rounded wings are rather short. The bill is black, with a pale yellow cere (fleshy bill base). The Collared Sparrowhawk has long fine yellow legs and very long toes, especially the middle toe. The tail is long and generally squared at the tip. The sexes are similar in appearance but males are smaller than females. The Collared Sparrowhawk is also called the Chickenhawk.


Collared Sparrowhawks mainly eat small birds caught in flight. They hunt during the day, and also at dawn and dusk to catch birds at their roost sites. Their very long middle toe is used to clutch their prey, before it is killed, plucked and eaten.


The Collared Sparrowhawk builds a rather flat nest of twigs and sticks in the fork of a tree, usually high among the foliage. The nest is lined with fresh leaves. Mainly the female incubates, with the male helping at times, though he provides her with food. The female broods the young for the first week or so and then shelters them in very hot or cold weather. The young are fed with small pieces of food, bill to bill. Sparrowhawks are very calm at their nest, unlike the Brown Goshawk which is very aggressive.


Collared Sparrowhawks are widely distributed across mainland Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea. Although widespread, they are generally uncommon. 


A rapid, almost trilled 'keek, keek, keek' and a soft mewing 'wit wit'.



More information can be found on Wikipedia


[go back]