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Chestnut-flanked Sparrowhawk
Accipiter castanilius

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Declining.

Other Names: Chestnut-bellied Sparrowhawk.

Accipiter castanilius
click to enlarge
Distribution: Afrotropical. CÔTE d’IVOIRE, LIBERIA, and NIGERIA east through the Congo Basin to western UGANDA (one record) and south through CAMEROON, GABON, and DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO; isolated population in ANGOLA. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic. more....

Taxonomy: Closely related to A. toussenelii and A. tachiro.

Movements: Non-migratory, but juveniles disperse from breeding areas (Bildstein 2006).

Habitat and Habits: Poorly known. Occupies moist lowland rainforest habitats. Reportedly spends most of its time perching within the forest, but Paul Herroens found birds sitting on posts a few meters high repeatedly during consecutive days (once on a termite mound and several times on palm trees) (Louette and Herroens 2007). The latter authors also reported that this this species was regularly observed flying fast and low, e.g., over roads, dykes, and often in or near villages, where one even entered a house in pursuit of a chicken. Also seen in plantations or secondary vegetation and observed hunting insects in trees.

Food and Feeding Behavior: Has a less specialized diet than many other accipiters, feeding on small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, as well as birds (Brosset 1973). It hunts from a low perch in dense undergrowth of lowland forest, dashing out suddenly to capture prey. It also follows ant columns to catch invertebrates and small vertebrates disturbed by them, as well as the small bird followers of the ants (Borrow and Demey 2001). more....

Breeding: Herroelen (2006) collected four juveniles in January-March, one on 28 April, and one on 9 June in the Tshuapa District, Equateur, and he stated that the main breeding period for this species in the DRC is January-April. The breeding period in Gabon is also reported as January to April (Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001). more....

Conservation: Poorly known, but probably overlooked (and difficult to separate from other Accipiter species). Brosset (1973) found it to be more common than other accipiters in Gabon. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International.

Important References: 
Brown, L.H., E.K. Urban, and K. Newman. 1982. The birds of Africa. Vol. 1.
  Academic Press, London.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Kemp, A.C. 1994. Chestnut-flanked Sparrowhawk. P. 146 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.
Kemp, A., and M. Kemp. 1998. Birds of prey of Africa and its islands. New
  Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd., London.
Mackworth-Praed, C.W., and C.H.B. Grant. 1970. African handbook of birds.
  Series Three. Birds of west central and western Africa. Vol. 1. Longman,
Snow, D.W. 1978. An atlas of speciation in African non-passerine birds.
  Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History), London.

Sites of Interest:
Chestnut-flanked Sparrowhawk photo.

Last modified: 5/15/2014

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Chestnut-flanked Sparrowhawk Accipiter castanilius. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 31 May. 2020

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