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Collared Sparrowhawk
Accipiter cirrocephalus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Declining.

Other Names: Accipiter cirrhocephalus, Australian Sparrowhawk, Australasian Collared Sparrowhawk, Collared Sparrowhawk, Little Hawk.

Accipiter cirrocephalus
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Distribution: Australasian. AUSTRALIA and NEW GUINEA. more....

Subspecies: 3 races. A. c. cirrocephalus: AUSTRALIA, TASMANIA; A. c. papuanus: NEW GUINEA, W Papuan Is., Aru Is.; A. c. rosselianus: Louisiade Archipelago (Rossel I.).

Taxonomy: Forms a superspecies with A. brachyurus, A. erythrauchen, and possibly A. rhodogaster. Northern Australian birds are sometimes recognized as another race, quaesitandus. Sibley and Monroe pointed out that the original spelling of the species name was A. "cirrocephalus,", but this was recently emended to cirrhocephalus because it had become the prevailing usage (I.C.Z.N. 1999). Otehrs (e.g., Olsen et al. 2000) have argued that the latter view is unjustified, and they are followed here. Wink and Sauer-Gürth (2004) found that this species and A. fasciatus form a clade of their own, based on cytochrome b evidence.

Movements: Irruptive or local migrant, with juveniles dispersing from breeding areas (Bildstein 2006).

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in savanna, woodland, disturbed open forest, and secondary growth and forest edges (Coates 1985). Perches inconspicuously within the forest. Often lives unnoticed in mature-treed suburban parks and gardens, flying from tree to tree, and sometimes soaring to great heights (Olsen 1995). Probably more common in arid areas than the Brown Goshawk (Olsen op cit.). Usually solitary, occasionally in pairs (Coates 1985). Probably relatively common, but easily overlooked, (Olsen op cit.), even though it is often trusting and approachable (Debus 1998). more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: In Australia, it feeds mostly on small birds, particularly passerines, lizards, insects and (rarely) small mammals (Debus 1998). In New Guinea, typical it takes small mammals, small birds, and insects, which it often captures in swift, dashing flight (Coates 2001). It forages by perch hunting from a concealed position in foliage, by short flights from tree to tree, or by quartering flight or low fast flight (Debus op cit.).

Breeding: Pairs nest solitarily, and the nest is a platform of sticks lined with green leaves and placed 4-39 m above the ground in the fork of a living tree (Debus 1998). Clutch size is usually 3 or 4 eggs (range 2-5). The egg is white, unmarked or with a few brown blotches or spots (Coates 1985). The incubation period is 35 days, and the nestling period is about 28-33 days (Debus op cit.). The period of dependence after fledging lasts about six weeks. more....

Conservation: Widespread and common in some areas, uncommon in others, although possibly overlooked because of its secretive habits. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International (2009). more....

Important References: 
Czechura, G.V., S.J.S. Debus, and N.J. Mooney. 1987. The Collared
  Sparrowhawk, Accipiter cirrhocephalus: a review and comparison with the
  Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus. Australian Bird Watcher 12:35-62.
Debus, S.J.S. 1994. Collared Sparrowhawk. Pp. 157 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.
Debus, S. 1998. The birds of prey of Australia: a field guide. Oxford
  University Press, Melbourne.
Debus, S.J.S., A.J. Ley, S.M. Tremont, R.M. Tremont, and J.L. Collins.
  1993. Breeding behaviour and diet of the Collared Sparrowhawk Accipiter
in northern New South Wales. Australian Bird Watcher
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Hollands, D. 1992. Observations on a breeding pair of Collared
  Sparrowhawks Accipiter cirrhocephalus. Australian Bird Watcher 14:200-203.
Marchant, S., and P. Higgins (eds.). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand,
  and Antarctic birds. Vol. 2. Raptors to lapwings. Oxford University Press,
  Melbourne, Australia.
Metcalf, E.C., T. Ross, and R. Metcalf. 1989. Nest structure of the
  Collared Sparrowhawk Accipiter cirrocephalus. Australian Bird Watcher
Metcalf, E.C., and R. Metcalf. 1989. Further notes on Collared
  Sparrowhawks in a Canberra park. Canberra Bird Notes 14:18-20.
Metcalf, E.C. 1982. The nestling and post-fledging of a family of Collared
  Sparrowhawk. Canberra Bird Notes 7:48-53.
Metcalf, R., and E.C. Metcalf. 1986. Notes on a breeding pair of Collared
  Sparrowhawks: arrival to hatching. Canberra Bird Notes 11:114-120.
Olsen, P. 1995. Australian birds of prey. John Hopkins University Press,
  Baltimore, MD.

Debus, Stephen

Last modified: 5/15/2014

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2022. Species account: Collared Sparrowhawk Accipiter cirrocephalus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 27 Jan. 2022

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