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Thank you for dropping by to check out my blog. You will see a lot of other Blogs about birds I follow down the left hand side. I strongly encourage you to check some of these out as well, they are entertaining and I love to see birds from all over the world, I hope you do too.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Collared Sparrowhawk and Brown Goshawk comparison

This morning I was alerted to some action happening outside my accommodation. The Pied Butcherbirds and Magpies were making a fuss so I grabbed the camera and went outside.

A couple of Collared Sparrowhawks were giving a young magpie some trouble and the older magpies were swooping the sparrowhawks. One of the Collared Sparrowhawk obligingly came and sat on the power line near me and I took a couple of photos.

Collared Sparrowhawk

After the photos I wondered how I knew it was a Collared Sparrowhawk and not a Brown Goshawk. For a start it seemed small, especialy around the head region, the legs seemed long, and I couldn't see the "brow" over the eye that make the goshawks seem angry. The final part was the more rounded tail. I looked back through my photos of a young goshawk from earlier this year (see that post here) and thought it might be useful to put the two birds side by side in a photo to help explain.So the key points are: the size of head, around the eye, the length of feathers on the legs, and the tail. Hope this helps someone in the future identify which one is which.

Brown Goshawk (left) and Collared Sparrowhawk


  1. Nice pictures, Richard. It is a good comparison, but still if one flicks past my ears in the bush, I can often be left wondering...? Female sparra, or male gos?

    1. Richard Waring21 February 2014 18:06
      Thanks I would imagine if one flicks past your ear, it would be a Whistling, Birder that is as I think I would give out a "Whewwww". :-) unless I get a good look at the tail while perched, or the eye area in sunlight, I struggle with telling the difference normally. This morning was unusual in that sense.

  2. This is fantastic! I have been seeing a bid of prey either one of these for years not far from our house - have never managed a decent photo and am unsure on which type of bird it is. It always poses for me on a fence-post when I am without my camera! I like the description of the "eyebrow making it seem angry". I will have a better look at this. Thankyou.

  3. one of these (I think) flew by me a couple of metres away while I was working clearing an overgrown block, to grab an insect, probably a grasshopper. It showed no fear of me and came close several times. It was latish afternoon. In between times it perched for long periods on power poles and factory roofs. BUT was it really a sparrow hawk? I got the impression it was pale brown-cream underneath and a bit darker above but despite seeing it briefly close up I didn't notice any barring. Thanks for the great photos. Dane.