Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

A Photographer or twitcher must be alert to spot this yellow- eyed predator as it darts along the hedgerow; scattering terrified birds. Although most prey is captured with the advantage of surprise, the Sparrowhawk is capable of overtaking its quarry with its sheer speed & agility.In flight, they tend to soar between powerful bursts of several wing beats: flap-flap-glide. They never hover and are remarkably agile even at speed.

 The Sparrowhawk has pale barred underparts, like the Goshawk, but is less heavily built.The wings are short, broad and blunt and the tail is quite long and has dark barring across it. Their yellow legs are surprisingly spindly. The eye and cere are also both yellow, but as they mature they become orange-yellow or even orange-red in older birds. With a hooked grey bill.

The females have grey-brown upper parts where males are much smaller than the females, with a barred, reddish-brown chest; where the female has a must duller, brown underparts. 

The nest is a flattened bulky platform of sticks, often based on an old nest of another bird. 

The Sparrowhawk population crashed because of the use of organochlorine pesticides, such as DDT, in the 1950s and 1960s, which causes a thinning of the eggshell that cannot then take the weight of the incubating female. The use of these chemicals was banned and Sparrowhawk population has now more or less recovered.

Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)

 

The Goshawk is a much larger hawk than the common Sparrowhawk, though very in plumage. It's size gives it an advantage over its prey it can take anything from the size of a Wood-pigeon up to a Hare; a very efficient killer. Swift controlled, it swoops through the trees to take its prey ...... 

 

Until the 1950s the Goshawk was a rare species, but since then its numbers have increased considerably, aided by the escape from falconers lost hawks & re-introductions.

 

In well-wooded area's it makes stick nests high in a tree. 

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