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Black Sparrowhawk youngster

06 Aug 2014 Posted by in Uncategorized | 9 comments

I photographed this young Black Sparrowhawk on Monday (4 Aug) at Rondevlei. You will notice in one of the photos that is has colour rings on its legs and was rung last year on the 19th September 2013 by Ann Koeslag on the Alphen Trail in Constantia.

Black Sparrowhawk are one of the larger local birds of prey, with the adults either having a black or white chest. This bird’s mother had a black chest and the father a white chest. They have long broad banded tails which they use for steering when hunting down prey amongst bush and trees. Often found perched in a tree from where they ambush small birds, they seldom soar like other birds of prey. Should anyone resight this bird please let me know so I can pass on the information to Ann Koeslag who is studying this species.

The young birds on the nest in Constantia

The young birds on the nest in Constantia

The same bird on 19th October 2013.

The same bird on 19th October 2013.

The bird in flight showing the colour rings on the legs (apologies for the poor picture quality)

The bird in flight showing the colour rings on the legs (apologies for the poor picture quality)

The bird at Rondevlei on 4th August 2014.

The bird at Rondevlei on 4th August 2014.

  1. Simon08-06-14

    Nice Dalton – that is exactly the bird we saw outside our kitchen window a year ago (I tried to get you to identify it from our description) so they are obviously liking Zeekoevlei area

  2. Charlene08-06-14

    I photographed a black raptor (perhaps a black harrier) with a francolin catch last week. I also photographed what I think may be a peregrine falcon on that same morning. I posted the pics on Facebook but will repost them here when i figure out how to do it!

    • MoonDance08-07-14

      Hi Charlene, I have added you to the site but not as an author, If you send pic’s to an author (me) I will put them up for you with credit.

    • Dalton Gibbs08-10-14

      Hi Charlene

      This would have been a Black Sparrowhawk. Black Harrier’s occur up the West Coast and are not found in Cape Town itself. Black Harriers are more lighter built than Black Sparrowhawk and do not bring down prey as large as Cape Francolin.

  3. bev ing08-07-14

    Beautiful creature

  4. Susanne08-07-14

    The great sightings of the Black Sparrowhawk seem to coincide with the sudden disappearance of my white pet rabbit Lilly out of my garden ;-(

    • Dalton Gibbs08-10-14

      Hi Susanne

      I dont think you should suspect the Black Sparrowhawk – they dont really take animals on the ground and feed on birds mainly. They are ambush hunters and are designed for chasing down prey in a bushy environment.

    • MoonDance08-19-14

      If I ever come back as one of your rabbits, I will know that I did something wrong in my last life 🙂

  5. Colin08-24-18

    Hi, I had a fleeting visit from a raptor yesterday morning, in PE, I am trying to identify. It has been suggested it is a sub adult Black Sparrow hawk.
    Not sure how to send a pic?

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