[Falcons] Northern Sparrowhawk 雀鷹

Northern Sparrowhawk 雀鷹

Is this Sparrowhawk or Besra?
Thanks in advance.

Mai Po


Dear Pippen,

Congratulations, these are stunning photos (again!).

I think it could be a female Northern Sparrowhawk. The first picture could show well the proportion of tail to the body and the second one could show well the length of wings. Both wings and tail are long in proportion that is favour to the Northern Sparrowhawk, but not the Japanese Sparrowhawk (long wing, short tail) and the Besra (short wing, long tail). Moreover, the secondaries seem not budge (but it could depend on the angle of view).

Many fine bars on underparts indicating that is a female individual also show quite different to the Japanese Sparrowhawk and the Besra. Upperparts are rather uniform grey (except some darker on lesser coverts) also indicating that could be an adult. Eyebrow is also prominent, although it seem a bit thin comparing to other birds I have seen before.

I would also like to see any comments by other birdwatchers to this bird. If it is really a Northern Sparrowhawk, these are the first photos of this species in Hong Kong (as far as I know!).



Largely agree with Tung. However, I think it is a juvenile, as there appear to be buff fringes to the mantle and lesser covert feathers, and fairly distinct pale fringes to the greater and median coverts.

As an aside, note the distinctive upper tail pattern. The pale bars are obviously broader than the dark bars, which rules out Besra.

Geoff Carey


:shock: Thanks TUNG & Geoff Carey!

Tung, I took these photos right after I ask you about the duck. ops:


Geoff: yes, I agree and I have overlooked pale fringe on greater coverts as well.

Pippen: Change the title and put in inside the column for Raptors.