One hawk returned twice to the area of the loft, while new birds began to visit two other lofts. T'was considered very ominous, and so it proved. Juvenile only features: • Longish supercilium. • Slender legs.  Birds in their first year of life weigh less than adults, and are especially light in the first two months after reaching independence. Mortality in young males is greater than that of young females and the typical lifespan is four years.  The British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes wrote a poem entitled "A Sparrow-Hawk" which refers to this species. , In Scotland, a two-year study published in 2004, and funded by Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Homing Union (SHU), found there was "no evidence that birds of prey cause major losses of racing pigeons at lofts or during races." At this stage they are extremely vocal, and their cries to their parents can often be heard a considerable distance away. Comments and Critiques welcome. They have a sharp two note call and have the … • Short primary projection, primary tip reaching the third bar. Although global population trends have not been analysed, numbers seem to be stable, so it has been classified as being of least concern by IUCN. Other articles where Eurasian sparrowhawk is discussed: sparrowhawk: The Eurasian sparrowhawk (A. nisus), dark gray above and brown barred white below, is a common inhabitant of wooded areas throughout Europe, in coastal northwestern Africa, and in temperate to sub-Arctic forests of Asia. They are usually composed of small feathers, as the larger ones are plucked and not consumed.  The population has largely recovered to pre-decline levels, with an increase seen in many areas, for example northern Europe. Shikra is one of three small Accipiter species to occur within the WP, the others being the familiar Eurasian Sparrowhawk and the less readily encountered Levant Sparrowhawk. , The adult male is 29–34 cm (11–13 in) long, with a wingspan of 59–64 cm (23–25 in) and a mass of 110–196 g (3.9–6.9 oz).  She has dark brown or greyish-brown upperparts, and brown-barred underparts, and bright yellow to orange irides.  When the Eurasian sparrowhawk population declined because of organochlorine use, there was no great increase in the populations of songbirds. However, this low-level persecution has not affected the populations badly. It can "stoop" onto prey from a great height. It rises above tree level mostly to display, soar above territory and to make longer journeys. Though it is a predator which specialises in catching woodland birds, the Eurasian sparrowhawk can be found in any habitat and often hunts garden birds in towns and cities.  In a study in the Forest of Ae, south-west Scotland, it was found that 21% of nestlings over two days old died, with the causes of death being starvation, wet weather, predation and desertion by the parents. Small mammals, including bats and mice, are sometimes caught but insects are eaten only very rarely. Thanks Deb for the responses. How is that? The "orbital ring". ", The Eurasian sparrowhawk has been used in falconry for centuries and was favoured by Emperor Akbar the Great (1542–1605) of the Mughal Empire. , The Eurasian sparrowhawk population in Europe crashed in the second half of the 20th century. , The Eurasian sparrowhawk breeds in well-grown, extensive areas of woodland, often coniferous or mixed, preferring forest with a structure neither too dense nor too open, to allow a choice of flight paths. The species features in Teutonic mythology and is mentioned in works by writers including William Shakespeare, Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Ted Hughes. Declines in the populations of some British songbirds since the 1960s have coincided with considerable changes in agricultural practices and also large increases in the numbers of Eurasian sparrowhawks and European magpies.  Usually a clutch of four or five eggs is laid. I tried moving to the right but the bird flew by that time. The Shikra is similar in appearance to other sparrowhawk species including the Chinese goshawk and the Eurasian sparrowhawk. , Males tend to take tits, finches, sparrows and buntings; females often take thrushes and starlings. You must log in or register to reply here.  The parasite Leucocytozoon toddi can be passed from parent to nestling at the nest, possibly because of the number of birds sharing a small space, thus allowing transmission. " Philip Glasier describes Eurasian sparrowhawks as "in many ways superior to hunting with a larger short-wing [hawk]" and "extremely hard to tame."  The falconer's name for a male Eurasian sparrowhawk is a "musket"; this is derived from the Latin word musca, meaning 'a fly', via the Old French word moschet. S. Sundar Amartur Always on. Adult male below: Thanks andyb39. Shot this in Dudhwa NP a few weeks back. Welcome to Birdforum, I agree with a juvenile Shikra. The males have dark grey upperparts and dark chestnut underparts while the females varies from Dark Grey to Brown colour. , During hunting, this species can fly 2–3 km (1.2–1.9 mi) per day. ", "Pigeon lovers pin hopes on sequins to repel predators", "Report shows birds of prey take few pigeons", "Bid to save pigeons from sparrowhawks provokes legal warning", "About SNH: What is Scottish Natural Heritage? , Sexual maturity is reached at between 1–3 years.  Geographic variation is clinal, with birds becoming larger and paler in the eastern part of the range compared to the western part. Males tend to take smaller birds, including tits, finches, and sparrows; females catch primarily thrushes and starlings, but are capable of killing birds weighing 500 g (18 oz) or more.  Another study, which examined the effects of predators – including the Eurasian sparrowhawk and introduced grey squirrel – on UK passerine populations, found that "whilst a small number of associations may suggest significant negative effects between predator and prey species, for the majority of the songbird species examined there is no evidence that increases in common avian predators or grey squirrels are associated with large-scale population declines.  The species' name dates back to the Middle English word sperhauk and Old English spearhafoc, a hawk which hunts sparrows. Facts: Scientific name: Accipiter badius Mass: 130 g Encyclopedia of Life A female Eurasian sparrowhawk is considered a bad choice for a novice and the male is very difficult and demanding, even for an experienced handler.  The decline coincided with the introduction of cyclodiene insecticides – aldrin, dieldrin and heptachlor – used as seed dressings in agriculture in 1956. ", Racing pigeon owners in Great Britain have said for many years that Eurasian sparrowhawks and peregrine falcons "cause serious and escalating losses" of pigeons and some have called for these birds of prey to be killed or removed from areas surrounding homing pigeon lofts.