Home | Species Database | Species Accounts | Bibliography | Researchers | Related Sites | Login

Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk
Accipiter rufiventris

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Increasing.

Other Names: Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk, Red-breasted Sparrowhawk, Rufous Sparrowhawk.

more photos
Accipiter rufiventris
click to enlarge
Distribution: Afrotropical. Eastern AFRICA from ETHIOPIA south through eastern ZAIRE, KENYA, TANZANIA, and MOZAMBIQUE to SOUTH AFRICA. more....

Subspecies: 2 races. A. r. perspicillaris: Highlands of ETHIOPIA and probably ERITREA; A. r. rufiventris: Eastern ZAIRE, UGANDA, and KENYA south to SOUTH AFRICA.

Taxonomy: Forms a superspecies with A. nisus, A. madagascariensis, and possibly the A. striatus complex, or is possibly conspecific with A. nisus (Snow 1978, Amadon and Bull 1988).

Movements: Irruptive or local migrant, with juveniles dispersing from breeding areas (Bildstein 2006). Also an altitudinal migrant in some areas. Hartley (1998) regarded this species as sedentary in Zimbabwe.

Habitat and Habits: Inhabits patches of montane forest within grasslands. In southern Africa, it also occurs in exotic pine and poplar plantations within open steppe, grassland habitats, gardens, and adjacent open country with hill slopes and cliff faces (Kemp and Kemp 1998). It is found at lower with increasing distance from the equator, e.g., it occurs only above 1,800 m in the Transvaal, but as low as sea level in the southwestern Cape Province (Allan 1997). more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Preys mainly on small open-country birds, including young francolins, doves, larks, popits, longclaws, and canaries, usually captured on the wing. Also strikes from a perch, descending to the ground to capture insects, reptiles, and small mammals. In Malawi and Zambia, it hunts in low flight, frequently along roads (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2006, Dowsett et al. 2008). more....

Breeding: Builds a small stick nest placed high in a tree at the forest edge. more....

Conservation: Locally common, but with a disjunct range that is the most restricted of any Accipiter in southern Africa. The planting of exotic tree plantations in formerly treeless grassland habitat has allowed this species to colonize new areas, including the semi-arid Karoo, where it has a depressing effect on small bird populations (Tarboton 1990). Elsewhere, the species has lost former habitat to the afforestation of grasslands. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Important References: 
Allan, D.G. 1997. Redbreasted Sparrowhawk. Pp. 218-219 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.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Kemp, A.C. 1994. Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk. Pp. 158-159 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.
Snow, D.W. 1978. An atlas of speciation in African non-passerine birds.
  Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History), London.
Steyn, P. 1982. Birds of prey of southern Africa: their identification and
  life histories. David Phillip, Cape Town, South Africa.

Sites of Interest:
Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk photos.

Last modified: 5/15/2014

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2022. Species account: Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk Accipiter rufiventris. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 27 Jan. 2022

Home | Species Database | Species Accounts | Bibliography | Researchers | Related Sites | Login

Copyright © 1999-2012 The Peregrine Fund. All Rights Reserved.