shirley morriss's picture


Observed: 30th December 2010 By: shirley morriss

I observed this bird maybe Goshawk in our back garden on the 30/12/10. It was there for 30 mins eating the remains of its catch. I have more photos if required. It was amazing to watch, it let me get about 2 meters away.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) interacts


shirley morriss's picture


I would be very grateful if someone can confirm that this is a young goshawk. Just getting into photography. It was amazing to watch this bird, and astonished that it let me get so close. Can not see any rings on its leg.

Ian John's picture


I think this is a sparrowhawk.

kcf32's picture


Great photograph.

My initial reaction was that this was a sparrowhawk. But after looking at my bird guide I can see that it also resembles a juvenile goshawk.

I look forward to any tips that can be given to help distinguish these two species.


kcf32's picture

Young goshawk

The Collins Guide shows a "female 2nd plumage" which has a "coarsely barred breast" rather than "streaked" similar to the sparrowhawk. In view of Syrphus' comments is this misleading?


shirley morriss's picture

Goshawk virus Sparrowhak

Thank you very much for all your comments and ideas, I have added a couple more photos - hope they help, thank you again.

leenestofvipers's picture


Looks like a juvenile sparrowhawk

anonymous spotter's picture

Good shots!

I can see why you think it might be a goshawk, but I think it is almost certainly a "sprawk", not least because of the location.
They can be very bold if they have recently killed - as this one appears to have done - I think they are determined not to lose out on the meal after all the effort it took to catch.

RoyW's picture

Juvenile Sparrowhawk.

This is a juvenile Sparrowhawk (a bird in it's first plumage).

The upperpart feathers can all clearly be seen to have obvious, but narrow, rufous fringes, which is typical of the juvenile feathers.
Juvenile Goshawks also have these pale fringes (often more noticeable, and generally more of a buff colour), but once the juvenile feathers are moulted the new upperpart feathers in both species lack the pale edges.

Second year birds will usually retain some juvenile feathers in their upperparts (so some of the feathers will have pale edges), but they will also have new feathers without the pale edges.
Goshawks moult the steaked underpart feathers at the same time as the juvenile upperpart feathers (during the 2nd year), so the illustration in the Collins guide shows a female that has already replaced the streaked juvenile feathers on the underside - so a bird in juvenile plumage with barred underparts is not a Goshawk.

Structure also shows the bird to be a Sparrowhawk (Goshawks are bulkier and, perhaps most obviously in views like this, have obviously stronger legs compare the legs of the bird in the photo in the following link with the "spindly" legs of the Sparrowhawk in this observation: )

kcf32's picture

Juvenile Sparrowhawk

Thank you for this full description.