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Tiny Hawk
Accipiter superciliosus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Declining.

Other Names: Central American Tiny Hawk (fontanieri), Hieraspiza superciliosa, Tiny Sparrowhawk.

Accipiter superciliosus
click to enlarge
Distribution: Neotropical. Caribbean NICARAGUA south in humid lowlands through COSTA RICA, PANAMA, and COLOMBIA, west of the Andes to southwestern ECUADOR and east of the Andes through northern and Amazonian BRAZIL to northern BOLIVIA, northeastern ARGENTINA, and PARAGUAY. more....

Subspecies: 2 races. A. s. fontanieri : Eastern NICARAGUA south through COSTA RICA and PANAMA to western COLOMBIA and southwestern ECUADOR; A. s. superciliosus : South America east of the Andes from eastern COLOMBIA to VENEZUELA to the GUIANAS, south through ECUADOR to eastern PERU, northern BOLIVIA (Beni, Santa Cruz) and BRAZIL (Amazonia, Santa Catarina) to PARAGUAY and northeastern ARGENTINA (Misiones). more....

Taxonomy: Often regarded as forming a superspecies with A. collaris (Stresemann and Amadon 1979, Sibley and Monroe 1990, Thiollay 1994), which occupies a higher altitudinal zone than this species. However, Olson (2006) recently concluded that this species does not belong in the genus Accipiter, based on the presence of a procoracoid foramen, a feature which is invariably absent in the genus, and the configuration of the skull, sternum, and pelvis, which are also very different from Accipiter. In addition, the hindlimb bones are much more robust than the homologous elements of Accipiter. Since the Tiny Hawk has no obvious relationship to any other group within the Accipitridae, he recommended placing it in a separate genus, Hieraspiza, which was already available (Kaup 1844, 1847, Gray 1855). This proposal is presently being considered by the American Ornithologists' Union Committee on Classification and Nomenclature.

Movements: Non-migratory (Bildstein and Zalles 2005).

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in lowlands and middle elevations, frequenting canopy, subcanopy, and edges of humid forest, adjacent tall second-growth, or adjacent clearings with a few large trees; may tolerate considerable habitat disturbance. Generally occurs at a fairly low height in Costa Rica, according to Slud (1964), but Robinson(1994) stated that it seems to forage exclusively in the upper canopy in Peru. It may occasionally perch, or even sun itself on an exposed perch, but rarely soars (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001).more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds on small passerines, hummingbirds, insects, and probably small rodents. Stiles (1978) suggested that this species specializes on capturing hummingbirds by still-hunting, waiting in ambush by a hummingbird's territorial perch, or by flying rapidly between several territorial hummingbird perches. This species also sometimes flits from perch to perch in dense vegetation, apparently hunting for birds (Hilty and Brown 1986). Willis and Eisenmann (1979) mentioned that on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, it often attacks small birds in mixed flocks. more....

Breeding: Hewitt (1937) stated that a pair usurped a nest in a tree built by the much larger Busarellus nigricollis in Venezuela. A single egg was taken from the nest. Wolfe (1936) reported a set of three eggs from Minas Gerais, Brazil, but the nest was undescribed. more....

Conservation: Apparently rare to uncommon in most portions of its range, although doubtless overlooked because of its small size and secretive habits. Categorized as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International, but there is virtually no quantitative information on its actual status throughout its rather extensive range. more....

Important References: 
Bierregaard, R.O. 1994. Tiny Hawk. P. 154 in del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, and
  J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New World
  vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world.
  Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA.

Sites of Interest:
Tiny Hawk photos.
Aves de Rapina do Brasil
Species account with emphasis on Brazil.

Beingolea, Oscar
Lisboa, Jorge
Santos, Kassius Klay
Whittaker, Andrew
Zorzin, Giancarlo

Last modified: 5/15/2014

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Tiny Hawk Accipiter superciliosus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 31 May. 2020

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