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UK Nature > Birds > Accipiter nisus
Scientific Name: Accipiter nisus
Common Name: Sparrowhawk
Accipiter nisus, more commonly known as the Sparrowhawk, is a small bird of prey. They're adapted for hunting birds in confined spaces like dense woodland, so gardens are ideal hunting grounds for them.
Adult male sparrowhawks (see above photo) have bluish-grey back and wings and orangey-brown bars on their chest and belly. Females and young birds have brown back and wings, and brown bars underneath. Sparrowhawks have bright yellow or orange eyes, long, yellow legs and long talons. Females are larger than males, as with most birds of prey.
Sparrowhawks breed in woodland but also visit gardens and more open country. They can be seen in towns and cities, as well as rural areas. Listen for the alarm calls of smaller birds as they spot a sparrowhawk and will alert other birds in the area to the danger. In the UK sparrowhawks are found everywhere, except for parts of the Scottish Highlands, the Western Isles and Shetland.
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