Goshawk vs Collared Sparrowhawk (middle toe length)

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Goshawk vs Collared Sparrowhawk (middle toe length)
From: "Robert Inglis" <>
Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2011 10:47:29 +1000
Question: Which has the longer middle toe - Brown Goshawk or Collared 

Common folk law would seem to suggest “Collared Sparrowhawk” as has often been 
claimed on this forum.

The text in the “Similar species” and “Recognition” sections for Brown Goshawk 
in HANZAB would seem to suggest “Collared Sparrowhawk”.

The text for both species in “The Birds of Prey of Australia” (Stephen Debus, 
1998) would seem to suggest “Collared Sparrowhawk”.


The measurements in the respective species entries in HANZAB would seem to 
suggest “Brown Goshawk”. That would seem reasonable considering that the Brown 
Goshawk is the bigger bird (male to male; female to female).

However, there is one aspect to the toe measurements in HANZAB which I find 
interesting and could help to explain this anomaly.
The toe measurements for Collared Sparrowhawk are stated to have been “taken 
without claw” whereas there is no such qualification noted in respect to the 
toe measurements for Brown Goshawk. 
Is it possible that different methods were used for measuring the middle toes 
of the two different species? Surely not?!

Bob Inglis
Sandstone Point

Sent from my no-name desktop PC.

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