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Sparrowhawks are small birds of prey. They’re adapted for hunting birds in confined spaces like dense woodland, so gardens are ideal hunting grounds for them. Adult male sparrowhawks have bluish-grey back and wings and orangey-brown bars on their chest and belly. Females and young birds have brown back and wings, and brown bars underneath. Sparrowhawks have bright yellow or orangey eyes, long, yellow legs and long talons. Females are larger than males, as with most birds of prey.

In Gloucestershire
The Sparrowhawk population has recovered well since the 1950’s-60’s when they suffered as a result of toxic seed-dressings. There is a widespread distribution across the county, but may be less numerous in the more open areas of the Cotswolds and the Severn Vale. There are also apparently gaps in the Forest of Dean, leading to the possibility that they may be preyed upon by Goshawks.

Size, habitat and diet
Length: 33cm
Wingspan: 62cm
Weight: M: 150g F: 260g
World distribution: Breeds: Europe, North and central Asia. Winters: South to north Africa and south Asia
Habitat: Wood and fields
Diet: Birds (Male to 100g, female to 500g), attacks from cover, pursues for short distance

Breeding and survival
Clutch size: 4-5 eggs
Incubation: 33 days
Fledging: 27-31 days
Number of broods: 1
Age at first breeding: 1 year
Typical lifespan: 4 years




Sparrowhawk (BBC)