The Sparrowhawk is one of the smallest Birds of Prey, and are skilled at hunting smaller bird species. Sparrowhawks are now a widespread species, however this was not always the case, and since their bounce back they have been blamed for the decline of several different songbird species due to their hunting habits.
Weight: 150 – 260g.
Average lifespan: 4 years.
Number of eggs: 3 – 6.
Incubation: 32 – 35 days.
Fledgling time: Around 4 weeks.
Sparrowhawks currently have a conservation status of least concern, and are one of the most wide spread falcon species in the UK with an estimated 35,000 pairs. Up until 1961, when they were granted legal protection, Sparrowhawks were at risk of extinction due to deforestation, gamekeepers and pesticides.
Sparrowhawks are currently experiencing a high morality rate in both adults and fledglings due to food shortages. Just over half of their nests produce any young during breeding seasons. Harsh and prolonged winter weather is believed to cause a decrease in breeding population.
When and Where to Find Sparrowhawks.
Sparrowhawks can be distinguished by their long and narrow tails and reddish cheeks. Males are smaller, with a blue/grey back and red/brown barred underparts, whereas females appear more brown above, and more grey below.
They tend to breed more in woodland areas, however they can be found almost anywhere within the UK, even your own back garden!
Sparrowhawks can be found at any time of the year and can sometimes be seen displaying to each other in early spring. This will appear as the males flying up high and then plummeting back down in an attempt to impress the female.