The robin and the sparrowhawk

Two magic moments in one week!

Sitting quietly in the bush to the north of Fence Track watching a pair of Scarlet Robins going about their business, when out of the corner of my eye a large bird alighted on a nearby branch. Largely obscured, the shape and colour suggested a Pallid Cuckoo – the first birds arrived a few days back – but when it moved perches its identity was confirmed … a Collared Sparrowhawk. These small woodland raptors are bird hunters of the highest order, often using a sit-and-wait strategy when stalking small birds.


The male Scarlet Robin before the arrival of the sparrowhawk.


Collared Sparrowhawk, Fence Track Muckleford State Forest, 25th August 2015.

The response of the Scarlet Robin was swift, adopting an unusual frozen pose, with its back to the raptor. After a couple of minutes the sparrowhawk departed, and the robin resumed foraging. Nature is as nature does … but I was glad not to witness a catch!


Freeze frame – the Scarlet Robin remained motionless until the sparrowhawk departed.


Looking right down the barrell!


The elongated middle toe …


… and the squared-off tail are distinguishing features of the Collared Sparrowhawk.

9 responses to “The robin and the sparrowhawk

  1. Amazing Geoff. Actually I think there were three times this week when your photographs told a story – the Yellow Robins, the Spotted Pardalotes and today’s series thankfully with a happy ending.

  2. Brilliant. Well done you!!!

    Carol McDonough

  3. Geoff — tha’t wonderful. Look at those piercing eyes! Do you think the robin has inclined it’s body towards a more horizontal stance to try to hide its bright red breast?

  4. Wow! Great Sparrowhawk pics, and wonderful to have an opportunity to see a Scarlet Robin looking like that — so sleek and flattened compared to its usual puffy appearance. Thanks!

  5. Those hawk eyes! BTW, we have come over to Inglewood from Ballarat for the weekend. Instead of our usual cruise in, turn left and off to Maldon we took an explore up Wyndham Street. Didn’t see any pardalotes but a lovely rural development. A lovely spot.

  6. lynette amaterstein

    What a piercing look ! A wise robin not to be taken. Great pics again Geoff. thank you.

  7. Awesome! Both very striking birds!

  8. Pingback: Sparrowhawk trifecta poses a puzzle | Natural Newstead

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