Yes I believe it refers to relative length compared to the other toes on the
foot, not between species. Also in my experience Collared Sparrowhawks have
more slender toes.
Sent from my iPhone
On 09/12/2011, at 11:42, Peter Shute <> wrote:
> I thought the important thing was the relative length of the middle and outer
> toes. I think someone mentioned "length" in this thread without using the
> word "relative", but I assumed that's what they meant. Is absolute length
> Peter Shute
>> -----Original Message-----
>> On Behalf Of
>> Robert Inglis
>> Sent: Friday, 9 December 2011 11:47 AM
>> To: Birding-Aus
>> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Goshawk vs Collared Sparrowhawk
>> (middle toe length)
>> Question: Which has the longer middle toe - Brown Goshawk or
>> Collared Sparrowhawk?
>> 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
>> 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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