English folk names for the Eurasian sparrowhawk include blue hawk, referring to the adult male's colouration, as well as hedge hawk, spar hawk, spur hawk and stone falcon. Within the species itself, six subspecies are generally recognised: A. n. nisus, the nominate subspecies, was described by Linnaeus in 1758. Taxon Information

All have long, yellow legs with black claws. In fact, countershading is seen in most animals,[5] including the Peregrine Falcon, the Merlin and other Accipiters. The Eurasian sparrowhawk was described by Linnaeus in his 18th century work, Systema Naturae, as Falco nisus, but moved to its present genus by French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760. Primary hunting habitats are deciduous forests, forest edges, and semi-open areas including farms and villages. These characteristics allow for maneuverability and speed. Because of the overlap in sizes, the female can be confused with the similarly-sized male northern goshawk, but lacks the bulk of that species. A 19th-century author remarked that this species was "the best of all hawks for landrails", now known as Corn Crakes. Additionally, pairs that have access to the most abundant supply of food or are better hunters are able to produce the earliest and the largest clutches of eggs. The main call varies in speed based upon circumstances and is described as a shrill cackling. reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. In the United Kingdom, for example, the species almost became extinct in East Anglia, where the chemicals were most widely used; in western and northern parts of the country, where the pesticides were not used, there were no declines. [16] Species that feed in the open, far from cover, or are conspicuous by their behaviour or coloration, are taken more often by Eurasian sparrowhawks. Fidelity to Breeding Area and Mate in Sparrowhawks Accipiter nisus. On average, females lay four to five eggs per year, and it takes 33 days of incubation for the eggs to hatch. "[77], The Eurasian sparrowhawk has been used in falconry for centuries and was favoured by Emperor Akbar the Great (1542–1605) of the Mughal Empire. The structure of loose twigs (up to 60 cm long) has an average diameter of 60 cm.

The Eurasian sparrowhawk's hunting behavior has brought it into conflict with humans for hundreds of years, particularly racing pigeon owners and people rearing poultry and gamebirds. The Eurasian Sparrowhawk is a major predator of smaller woodland birds, though only 10% of its hunting attacks are successful. Accipiter nisus forms a superspecies with East and Southern African Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk, A. rufiventris and possibly Madagascar Sparrowhawk, A. madagascariensis.

The bones are left, but can be broken using the notch in the bill.

The Eurasian Sparrowhawk breeds in well-grown, extensive areas of woodland, often coniferous or mixed. [33], This species is prevalent in most woodland types in its range, and also in more open country with scattered trees. They are fed by their parents for a further 28–30 days, staying close to the nest while growing and practicing flying. The juvenile is warm brown above, with rusty fringes to the upperparts; and coarsely barred or spotted brown below, with pale yellow eyes; its throat has dark streaks and lacks a mesial (midline) stripe. A new nest is built every year, generally close to the nest of the previous year, and sometimes using an old wood pigeon (A. n. melaschistos frequently uses the old nests of jungle crows[24]) nest as a base; the male does most of the work. The altricial, downy chicks hatch after 33 days of incubation. In England in the 17th century, the sparrowhawk was used by priests, reflecting their lowly status; in the Middle Ages, they were favoured by ladies of noble and royal status because of their small size. In 17th century England, the Eurasian sparrowhawk was used by priests, reflecting their lowly status;[84][85] whereas in the Middle Ages, they were favoured by ladies of noble and royal status because of their small size. [18] The decline coincided with the introduction of cyclodiene insecticides – aldrin, dieldrin and heptachlor – used as seed dressings in agriculture in 1956. [9] Usually a clutch of four or five eggs is laid. Male sparrowhawks eat smaller birds like tits, finches and sparrows. [86] The falconer's name for a male Eurasian sparrowhawk is a "musket"; this is derived from the Latin word musca, meaning 'a fly', via the Old French word moschet. The hawk then breaks from cover and chases and captures its prey by flying fast and low to the ground. Because of the overlap in sizes, the female can be confused with the similarly-sized male Northern Goshawk, but lacks the bulk of that species. However, because of the high number of non-breeding individuals the sparrowhawk population has been able to recover quickly. But analysis of long-term, large-scale national data from the UK's Common Bird Census demonstrated that the declines in farmland songbird populations since the 1960s are unlikely to have been caused by increased predation by Eurasian sparrowhawks and magpies. In Ursula K. Le Guin Earthsea novels, the main character is a boy called Duny who is nicknamed Sparrowhawk. The Eurasian Sparrowhawk was written about by Alfred, Lord Tennyson: To whom with sighs she said: 'O set me free, And in my song I'll praise no bird but thee. living in the northern part of the Old World.

A call is also used when birds are threatened by a territorial intruder or humans. Adult male Eurasian sparrowhawks have bluish grey upperparts and orange-barred underparts; females and juveniles are brown above with brown barring below. "Death in the garden- when sparrowhawks attack", Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, "Philosophical Dictionary by Voltaire (chapter 454)", "A parasite in wolf's clothing: hawk mimicry reduces mobbing of cuckoos by hosts", "A high altitude breeding record of Besra, "Latitudinal variation in the body-size of sparrowhawks, "Weights, breeding, and survival in European Sparrowhawks", "Age-related survival in female Sparrowhawks, "Sparrowhawk (Canarian-Madeirian subspecies), "Ranging behaviour and foraging habitats of breeding Sparrowhawks, "The impact of predation by birds on bat populations in the British Isles", British Association for Shooting and Conservation, "Parasites may help put songbirds on this European sparrowhawk's dinner plate", American Association for the Advancement of Science, "Causes and consequences of breeding dispersal in the Sparrowhawk, "Parental investment, size sexual dimorphism, and sex ratio in the rifleman Acanthisitta chloris", "Public Health Statement for DDT, DDE, and DDD", "The widespread declines of songbirds in rural Britain do not correlate with the spread of their avian predators", "Are predators to blame for songbird declines? It has also been blamed for decreases in passerine populations; scientific research has found no link between increased numbers of Eurasian Sparrowhawks and declines in some farmland and woodland birds after World War II. Newton, I.

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