Hello Bob and other viewers,
This is a topic of great interest to me.
For several years now I have been 'haunted' by a Brown Goshawk/Collared
Sparrowhawk that has been frequenting the area around my suburban home at Woody
Point, SE Queensland, Australia.
Considering the amazing ease with which some bird watchers* seem to be able to
positively identify each of these species I have been left feeling somewhat
inadequate as I have struggled to decide which species I have been recording.
Often I have been in a situation where the bird has simply flown overhead and
out of sight at a speed which has only enabled me to decide it was probably one
of the two(....but which one?) and not the Australian Hobby that also taunts me
every now and then!
In more recent times I have had the opportunity to record some very poor quality
video (no reflection on the capabilities of the video-camcorder) of a bird that
I have decided is a male Collared Sparrowhawk.
However, I am prepared to believe that I have seen both species in the area at
I have identified the bird that is currently in the area as a Collared
Sparrowhawk based on:
- Size - this particular bird is around about the same size as the Pied
Butcherbirds that harass it and warn me of its presence; this, along with the
next point, should make it a male;
- The tail shape - this particular bird has a very obvious notch in the tail at
rest; this notch is almost a 'V' in dimension and is at least 3 times the depth
of that shown on the appropriate illustrations in The Handbook of Australian,
New Zealand and Antarctic Birds (HANZAB), Vol 2, and the pocket-book edition of
the birds of prey section of that publication; HANZAB suggests that the male has
a more obvious notch than the female.
*Please note that I have no one in particular in mind and am in no way
attempting to cast doubt on anyone's ability to identify these species; the fact
is that I have very little practice in this area of birdwatching and am
therefore extremely jealous of anyone who has the good fortune to have enough
spare time and natural ability to be able to become confident and competent at
the very difficult art of raptor identification.
Bob Forsythe wrote:
Fairy and Tree Martins are not the only species that I have (had) trouble
The Female Collared Sparrowhawk is so similiar to the Male Brown Goshawk
I have culled through the various Field Guides and Hanzab and have drafted an
identification comparison chart for these 2 Hawk species.
It is very user friendly.
However, before general distribution, I would appreciate if it were reviewed
first by someone who knows these birds.
It is in Excel format, but I can send it as an ordinary email to anyone who uses
HTML format....or even a copy by ordinary mail
Is there anyone who would like to critically review the chart ?
Regards, Bob Forsyth, Mount Isa, NW Qld."
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