StephenRoberts's picture

Is this a sparrowhawk?

Observed: 14th November 2008 By: StephenRobertsStephenRoberts’s reputation in Birds

Is this a sparrowhawk? It's eating a wood-pigeon that it caught.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Sparrowhawk interacts


Alladell's picture


I do not believe the picture shows a Sparrowhawk, again its down to the legs ie trousers. It is a Goshawk


Kluut's picture

If the prey is a wood-pigeon,

If the prey is a wood-pigeon, based on size alone, it is a hen goshawk, not a sparrowhawk.
Both species have "trousers", but female goshawks also have a pale lower face, sparrowhawk females have dark.

Sparrowhawks will take wood-pigeons, but often do not kill them out-right because they just do not have the weight to hit them hard enough.
Sparrowhawks eating collared doves, wood-pigeons and even blackbirds that are still alive are moderately common in my garden - extremely gruesome as blackbirds will scream as they are being eaten.

Alladell's picture

Hi Kluut

I felt that the length of trousers was deeper/longer than I would expect on a Sparrowhawk and would won't to see more colour to under parts of bird.


Kluut's picture


Agreed, although the photo' could be deceptive

Urophora's picture

If this was a Gos even the

If this was a Gos even the fuzzy pic would show an eyestripe. It is a Sparrowhawk.

Apus's picture


It is a Sparrowhawk, females are larger than males (sometimes equal to male Gos) and some are capable of taking Woodpigeons. Goshawk shows obvious head markings and hens are very large, Buzzard-size.

Alladell's picture

Apus, Urophora.

Good day. Yes my eyes are opened, got bogged down on legs. Yes ispot is proving a good tool.


Norwichnaturalist's picture


Why do people always assume it is a rarity before considering the common birds first???

Colin Jacobs.
Wild Flower Society member

sparkycat's picture

Its a Goshawk

The leggings of the bird are too thick for Sparrowhawk surely.

The size of the pigeon is quite small in comparison to the size of the bird.

I have had Goshawks in my garden, clutching Collared Doves in their claws and the doves look quite small in comparision to size of the Goshawk.

Also, Male Sparrowhawks are blueish/grey and smaller than the females, making it more likely to be a Goshawk.

Check out this link, and to my eyes the pictures on this seem to be that the photo is Goshawk: