Overview

Comprehensive Description

The Collared Sparrowhawk is a medium-sized, finely built raptor (bird of prey) 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. A rapid, almost trilled 'keek, keek, keek' and a soft mewing 'wit wit'. They are silent when hunting.

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Distribution

Subspecies and Distribution:


    * papuanus (Rothschild & Hartert, 1913) - New Guinea, W Papuan Is, Aru Is. * rosselianus Mayr, 1940 - Rossel I (Louisiade Archipelago). * cirrocephalus (Vieillot, 1817) - Australia, Tasmania.


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Physical Description

Size

30-40 cm, 195 g.

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Diagnostic Description

The Collared Sparrowhawk is a medium-sized, finely built raptor (bird of prey) 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. A rapid, almost trilled 'keek, keek, keek' and a soft mewing 'wit wit'. They are silent when hunting.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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It is found in woodlands and forests of tropical and temperate Australia.

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Trophic Strategy

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

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

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Reproduction

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. Breeding season: September to February Clutch size: Three to four Incubation: 35 days Time in nest: 28 days.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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Not Threatened.

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Population

Population
The population is estimated to number in the tens of thousands.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Wikipedia

Collared Sparrowhawk

The collared sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus) is a small, slim bird of prey in the family Accipitridae found in Australia, New Guinea and nearby smaller islands. As its name implies the collared sparrowhawk is a specialist in hunting small birds. It is characterised by its slight brow ridges and slender feet. The last segment of their middle toe projects beyond the claws of the other toes.[2]

Description[edit]

The collared sparrowhawk is 29–38 cm (tail about half ), with a wingspan 55–78 cm, the average male weighs 126g, female 218g.[3] They are small, fierce, finely built with rounded wings, long square tail, yellow eyes and long legs. Adults have slate-grey upper parts, sometimes with a brown wash, and a chestnut half collar. The underparts are finely barred rufous and white. The under wing and tail are finely barred. The cere is cream to olive-yellow, the eyes yellow and the legs and feet yellow.[3] The sexes are similar in appearance but males are smaller than females. Juveniles have brown upper parts, with pale streaks on the head and nape, and fine rufous edges to the feathers of the back and wings.[3] The under parts are white with heavy brown streaks on the breast and coarse brown barring on the belly. The underwings and tail are finely barred. The cere is cream to greenish yellow, the eyes brown to pale yellow and legs and feet pale yellow.[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The collared sparrowhawk is widespread through mainland Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea and is found in all habitats except the driest deserts. It can occasionally be seen in urban areas and even cities. Although widespread, they are generally uncommon. collared sparrowhawks are generally resident but may be partly migratory, however their movements are poorly known.[3]

Feeding[edit]

The collared sparrowhawk mainly eats small birds, the crested pigeon and spotted bowerbird are the largest birds that sparrowhawks have been recorded taking.[4] They also catch insects, lizards and small mammals. Sparrowhawks rely on stealth and surprise to catch their prey, hunting in flight or bursting from a concealed perch among foliage.[3] Most prey weighs less than 100g and rarely over 200g. It forages by short-stay perch hunting from a concealed position in foliage, punctuated by short tree-to-tree, often undulating flights.[3] It also forages by low fast flight, sometimes hedge hopping. Prey is seized in flight by a direct flying attack or a stealthy glide.

Breeding[edit]

The laying season is July to December. Pairs nest solitarily. The nest is a platform of sticks 27–32 cm across, 12–15 cm deep, lined with green leaves around 4-39m above ground in the fork of a living tree.[3] The clutch size is usually three or four eggs, ranging from two to five. Incubation takes 35 days, and the nesting period is about 28–33 days.[3] The period of dependence after fledging lasts up to 6 weeks, after which young disperse. Sexual maturity is reached at one year, with birds sometimes breeding in juvenile plumage.[3]

Kobble Creek, SE Queensland, Australia


Threats and conservation[edit]

The collared sparrowhawk is not globally or nationally threatened. It is widespread and generally uncommon, but may be common in forests in the tropics and subtropics; it is also secretive and most likely under-recorded.[3] It has undergone declines in extensively cleared areas. It is thought that their loss of numbers is due to the use of DDT which has reduced the thickness of collared sparrowhawks' eggs by 2%,[5] and the increase of the pied currawong (Strepera graculina) a predator and competitor capable of robbing and injuring adults and killing nestlings.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Accipiter cirrocephalus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Luke D.Einoder and Alastair M.M. Richardson. (2007). Aspects of the hindlimb morphology of some Australian birds of prey: a comparative and quantitative study.Hobart:The Auk 124(3):773-788.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Debus, Stephen (1998). The Birds of Prey of Australia. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195506243. 
  4. ^ Australia, B. (2012). Collared Sparrowhawk. Retrieved from BirdLife Australia: http://www.birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/collared-sparrowhawk
  5. ^ Olsen,p.(1993).Pesticide-related Eggshell Thinning in Australian Raptors: Emu 93(1) 1 - 11.
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