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Northern Sparrowhawk

About Northern Sparrowhawk

The Northern Sparrowhawk is a long-tailed hawk with short, rounded wings. Males are slatey-gray above, with dark bars on tail; pale underparts finely barred reddish-brown; rufous cheeks and flanks; orange eyes. Females are darker gray-brown above, with underparts barred gray; white stripe above yellow eye. Yellow legs and base of bill.

They breed in the spring. The nest is built most often by the female in a tree; a loose platform of twigs lined with leafy twigs. They have 2-7 bluish-white eggs, spotted, blotched, or streaked with dark brown, incubated by the female for 32-35 days.

The Northern Sparrowhawk is fast and agile for hunting other birds in the confined spaces of the forest. Its relatively short wings and long tail give this bird maneuvrability and the compact profile it needs to go through the trees going after its prey. It takes its prey by surprise, often darting out or flying low in a hedge before bursting out to pluck a songbird from its perch. It will carry its prey to a spot and go to work on it with its hooked bill, and it is not uncommon for these perches to be surrounded by feathers and the discarded remains of prey.

In the open air it has a low, fast flap and slide flight, but it can also soar high into the air.