Our Sparrowhawk is due to hatch any day soon. It won't be long till we have the hard task of choosing a name!
This species is now one of the most common birds of prey in Europe, although the population crashed after the Second World War.
Sparrowhawk is a major predator of smaller woodland birds, though only 10% of its hunting attacks are successful. It hunts by surprise attack, using hedges, tree-belts, copses, orchards and other cover near woodland areas; its choice of habitat is dictated by these requirements.
It also makes use of gardens in built-up areas, taking advantage of the prey found there. During one year, a pair of sparrowhawks could take 2,200 house sparrows, 600 common blackbirds or 110 wood pigeons, will, occasionally catch mice, voles and young rabbits. When there is a shortage of food it will even eat insects such as beetles.
Sparrowhawk breeds in well-grown, extensive areas of woodland, often coniferous or mixed, preferring forest with a structure neither too dense nor too open, to allow a choice of flight paths. Breeding between May and August 4-5 eggs is laid.
29-41cm long, wingspan 59-80cm, weighing 110-342g Females can be up to 25% larger than males and weigh up to twice as much.
3 – 7 years old in the wild
20 years oldest recorded in the wild
The probability of a juvenile surviving its first year is 34%, with 69% of adults surviving from one year to the next. Mortality in young males is greater than that of young females and the typical lifespan is four years.
DID YOU KNOW?
In the UK, the population increased by 108% between 1970–2005, but saw a 1% decline over 1994–2006.
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