Re: raptors

To: "kate moore" <>
Subject: Re: raptors
From: "David Cook" <>
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2005 22:31:19 +1100
Hello Kate

Thankyou for your email. Your raptor is almost certainly one of two - Brown Goshawk or Collared Sparrowhawk. These are very similar birds, with very similar habits. A male Brown Goshawk is much smaller than the female, but is roughly similar in size to the female Collared Sparrowhawk, and marked similarly as well. The male Collared Sparrowhawk is smaller again. There are some telltale signs to look out for to separate these birds. When flying, the Sparrowhawk has a squarish end to its tail, while the Goshawk's is rounded. Through binoculars, the Goshawk has a larger head relative to its body than the Sparrowhawk, and also a more prominent brow, appearing to frown - the Sparrowhawk has a more wide-eyed look. The Sparrowhawk also has a more prominent middle toe, but you've got to get a good look to pick it. They are both spectacular birds, but I would have thought a chicken would have been too big for either species - their prey tends to be smaller birds, such as sparrows and starlings, and also small native birds - maybe a female Brown Goshawk might have a go. Both species breed in the ACT, but are uncommon and tend to leave in winter.

There are photos of both species on the Canberra Birds Photo Gallery, at http://photogallery/

Hope this helps.

David Cook
Webmaster, Canberra Birds

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