Unpacking the puzzle

A family of raptors have been a noisy feature of the neighbourhood over recent days. There are at least three and possibly four birds, the parents and two juveniles, with the youngsters calling enthusiastically whenever the adults are about, in anticipation of a meal.

As I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, Brown Goshawks and Collared Sparrowhawks are not only closely related raptors, they can be devilishly difficult to tell apart. These are, I’m pretty certain, Collared Sparrowhawks – some of the distinguishing features are shown in the photographs below. The adults are much warier than the youngsters and I’ve been unable to photograph them properly to date.


Juvenile Collared Sparrowhawk, Wyndham Street Newstead, 23rd January 2016

A stare as opposed to a glare

The elongated middle toes

Bold chest and belly barring – both species share this feature

Notched as opposed to rounded tail

Not so elegant!

2 responses to “Unpacking the puzzle

  1. A great sighting, Geoff!

  2. Bernie McRitchie

    Certainly sparrowhawks Geoff. They have quite a different call around the nest also. Quite unlike the goshawks’ usual call.

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