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218 illustration

Sparrowhawk

Accipiter nisus

Description:
This small bird of prey is about 35 centimetres long when perched. It has short, broad wings and a long tail, and in flight it uses a few quick wing beats followed by a short glide. The male has bluish-grey upper parts, with reddish-brown cheeks and a barred breast and belly. The female is noticeably larger than the male, grey above, with brownish-grey barred belly and breast.

Habitat:
The sparrowhawk lives in forests throughout Europe, but often hunts for birds in towns and cities. Birds from the northern parts of the range migrate south for winter.

Habits:
When hunting, the sparrowhawk often flies low over the ground and makes surprise attacks. It preys on smaller birds, which it kills with its long claws.

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