Great Birding Moments # 33: Collared Sparrowhawk

Collared Sparrowhawk

Collared Sparrowhawk

Whenever I hear the alarm calls of the birds in our garden, especially the honeyeaters, I look skywards. I usually expect to see a bird of prey soaring overhead. Sometimes it turns out to be a Black Kite or a Little Eagle. At other times it will be a Brown Falcon sneaking through the lower trees trying to catch an unwary smaller bird.

Collared Sparrowhawk

Collared Sparrowhawk

Several days ago I was watching the Test Cricket (Australia v. India) on television. I heard the usual alarm calls outside and raced out into the garden armed with my camera. I was rewarded with closeup photos of a juvenile Collared Sparrowhawk. This species looks very similar to the juvenile Brown Goshawk – except for the size. Both species occur in our area. This one was definitely a Collared Sparrowhawk because it was about the size of an Australian Magpie.

Collared Sparrowhawk

Collared Sparrowhawk

Collared Sparrowhawks are found throughout most of Australia. Their preferred habitats include forests, woodlands, inland scrubs and farmlands. Their breeding season ranges from August through to December, so this one could well be from last year’s breeding season.

Collared Sparrowhawk

Collared Sparrowhawk

Click on any photo to enlarge the image.

Further reading:

Collared Sparrowhawk

Collared Sparrowhawk


14 Responses to “Great Birding Moments # 33: Collared Sparrowhawk”

  1. Duncan says:

    Great shots Trevor, well done.

  2. Trevor says:

    Thanks Duncan.

    For some reason this particular individual was quite unafraid of me. It allowed me to approach to within about four metres and then sat and posed nicely for me. That certainly helped with the photography. It’s good to get a cooperative bird every now and then.

  3. Matt says:

    I work on a mine site as an environmental advisor and we have just taken in a young collared sparrow hawk who must of been dislodged from his nest. Unable to locate the nest we have been feeding him and will take him to a raptor care centre in the next couple of days. hopefully he can one day return to our site as an adult

  4. Trevor says:

    Hi there Matt – welcome to my birding blog. Well done for rescuing the young bird in question, and for aiming to get the experts in raptor rescue to look after it. Good work.

    What part of Australia are you working in?

  5. john halcrow says:

    have been watching a pair of these birds building their nest in aeucalypt in front yard 1 acreproperty near young late october 2009 I will keep you informed

  6. Steven Varga says:

    Hi Trevor,

    Thank you for your blog. The great photos of collared sparrowhawk you have posted have helped me in confirming the identity of a juvenile (prob. 1 y.o.) in an appletree in my backyard currently ripping into the remains of a crested pigeon. Canberra 29/10/2009.

  7. Trevor says:

    Thanks for stopping by Steven. Glad I was able to help you.

  8. […] later a juvenile Collared Sparrowhawk came swooping into the garden and landed in a tree in our back yard. The other birds kept up their […]

  9. IQXS says:

    Stunning shot! Wow, an awesome fellow indeed!

  10. Katrina says:

    We have one of these birds at our place that keeps coming back to eat our young chickens. We now have to keep the chickens cooped up. I was just wondering if you know if they stay in the same area for long?? We don’t really want it around anymore.

  11. Trevor says:

    Hi Katrina,

    Despite being a stunningly beautiful bird, they can be a real pest when it comes to chickens and aviary birds. Once they know a source of food, they will keep coming back. Furthermore, they are quite territorial and will stay fairly much in the same area.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. The only way to prevent it – and other birds of prey – from taking the chickens is to keep them secured under netting at all times, completely enclosing the chicken run. That’s not a solution if you have a large run for them, or you want them to go out into the garden to scratch around for beetles and snails and the like.

  12. Jeremy says:

    Surely this is a Brown Goshawk. Fat legs, yellow cere, distinct eyebrow, relatively small bill.

  13. Jeremy says:

    Both Brown Goshawk and Collared Sparrowhawk overlap in size with Aus Magpie (except in Tasmania).

  14. Ranman says:

    Besides the tail shape I’d say you got a brown goshawk there. No collar at all, browned head rather than grey plumage and the leggings are bald. Great photo but wrong species, common misconception tho. Very similar looking birds. Sparrow hawks have very distinctive collars (hence the name) also have feathery leggings while goshawk have ball legs from the hips down. The only thing that resembles a sparrowhawk in this pic is the tail feather shape. Usually goshawk tails are way more rounded than the Squared box like sparrowhawks tail. But the pattern on the wings and chest is definitely a brown goshawk.

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