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Little Sparrowhawk
Accipiter minullus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Stable.

Other Names: African Little Sparrowhawk.

Accipiter minullus
click to enlarge
Distribution: Afrotropical. ETHIOPIA, southern SUDAN, and southern SOMALIA and southern DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO south to ANGOLA, northern NAMIBIA, BOTSWANA, ZIMBABWE, MOZAMBIQUE, and eastern SOUTH AFRICA. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic. more....

Taxonomy: Sometimes regarded as conspecific with A. erythropus (Kemp 1994) with which it forms a superspecies.

Movements: Irruptive or local migrant (Bildstein 2006). Parker (2005) knew of no evidence of seasonal movements in central Mozambique.

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in patches of forest and forest edges, riparian habitat,Acacia woodlands, and dense bush; also exploits stands of alien trees and well-wooded suburban gardens (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2006). Moves about more than larger sparrowhawks, jumping through branches and taking short flights between trees (Kemp and Kemp 1987). Usually seen singly, but occasionally two or three are found together (Ash and Miskell 1998, Parker 2005). Probably under-recorded because it is highly inconspicuous and mostly silent (Parker op cit.). more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Preys mainly on small birds, which it takes on the wing or from a hidden perch. Also feeds on lizards and insects, which it often hawks, and occasionally on bats. more....

Breeding: The small stick nest is placed in a well hidden situation in a high fork of a tree, often a eucalyptus. The pair shares nest-building duties, but only the female incubates, and the male brings food to her. Clutch size is 2 eggs, rarely more, and they are white and unmarked, unlike those of other small accipiters. The incubation period is about 32 days, and the chicks fledge in about 26 days (Liversidge 1962). more....

Conservation: Widespread and likely common in many areas, but unobtrusive and probably overlooked. Populations are possibly increasing in southwestern South Africa (Silbernagl and Silbernagl 1993), where it has been able to exploit newly established plantations of exotic tree species. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Important References: 
Allan, D.G. 1997. Little Sparrowhawk. Pp. 222-223 in J.A. Harrison et al.
  (eds.). The atlas of South African birds. Volume 1: Non-passerines. BirdLife
  South Africa and Avian Demography Unit, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Brown, L.H., E.K. Urban, and K. Newman. 1982. The birds of Africa. Vol. 1.
  Academic Press, London.
Colebrook-Robjent, J.F.R., and P. Steyn. 1975. On the nest and eggs of the
  Little Sparrowhawk Accipiter minullus. Bulletin of the British
  Ornithologists' Club 95:142-148.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Kemp, A.C. 1994. African Little Sparrowhawk. Pp. 155 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.
Liversidge, R. 1962. The breeding biology of the Little Sparrowhawk,
  Accipiter minullus. Ibis 104:399-406.
Steyn, P. 1982. Birds of prey of southern Africa: their identification and
  life histories. David Phillip, Cape Town, South Africa.

Sites of Interest:
Little Sparrowhawk photos.

Last modified: 5/15/2014

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Little Sparrowhawk Accipiter minullus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 25 Sep. 2020

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