Chestnut ID opinions please - Sparrowhawk

To: "canberrabirds chatline" <>
Subject: Chestnut ID opinions please - Sparrowhawk
From: "Julian Robinson" <>
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2010 08:21:12 +1100

I know this has been discussed many times, but I would value opinions on this Sparrow / Gos hawk.  I have no further info to add to  the photo except the immediately preceding circumstances – in a small clearing amongst pines near Gundaroo this bird rocketed in carrying prey.  It was intercepted by another just out of view in pine trees, some carry on then the other bird disappeared and this one reappeared on the branch without the prey.  I assume this parent was feeding its young.  The photo is more informative than the view I could make out with bins in the gloomy recesses of the pines.


I’m calling it a Sparrowhawk because of the non-heavy brow ridge and somewhat staring look.  Supporting this could be the centre toe which seems very long given that you can see the front of the centre toe but not even the nail of the other toes, and also it seems a long way from where the extended left leg would meet the branch.   Counting against sparrowhawk according to my reading is the shape of the tail feathers, but I’ve never really worked out what you are looking for in closed position, and some say that this is an unreliable diagnostic clue.


I would appreciate any educational info and any decisive ID.






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