Sunday, 17 November 2013

Little sparrowhawk

Accipiter minullus

Photo by Johan Stenlund (PBase)

Common name:
little sparrowhawk (en); gavião-pequeno (pt); épervier minule (fr); gavilancito chico (es); zwergsperber (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Falconiformes
Family Accipitridae

Range:
This African species is found from Ethiopia and south-eastern Sudan, through Kenya and Ethiopia, and into Angola, northern Namibia, northern Botswana, Mozambique and eastern and southern South Africa.

Size:
These birds are 23-27 cm long and have a wingspan of 39-50 cm. They weigh 70-105 g.

Habitat:
The little sparrowhawk is found in moist tropical forests, mangroves, dry savannas and dry scrublands, often favouring areas near rivers and streams. They also use exotic tree plantations and rural gardens.

Diet:
They prey mainly on small birds, such as swallows, which they hunt on the wing or from a hidden perch., but also take bats, lizards and insects.

Breeding:
Little sparrowhawks can breed all year round, varying between different parts of their range. The nest is a small platform of sticks, lined with fine twigs and green leaves, and placed in a fork high up on a tree. The female lays 1-3 eggs, which are incubated for 31-32 days. The chicks fledge 25-27 days after hatching.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as widespread and common in most areas, with the population being estimated to be in the range of 10.000-100.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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