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Levant Sparrowhawk - BirdForum Opus

Accipiter brevipes
Photo by lior kislev in Eylat, Israel.

Identification

30-37 cm. Female is larger than the male
Male

  • Blue-grey upperparts
  • Dark wingtips
  • Barred reddish below

Female

  • Slate-grey upperparts
  • Darkish wingtips
  • Barred reddish brown underparts
  • Dark throat line

Juvenile

  • Dark brown upperparts
  • Darkish-streaked underparts
  • Dark throat (gular) line
Juvenile, notice the dark blotchy streaks on breast and the dark gular stripe on throat
Photo by Momo in Keramoti, Greece, September 2008.

Similar Species

Levant Sparrowhawk usually shows four "fingers" which often produces an impression of pointed wings while Eurasian Sparrowhawk shows five-six "fingers". Levant Sparrowhawk therefore shows a flight silhouette that is surprisingly similar to Common Kestrel. Juvenile Levant differs in the more blotchy, streaked appearance of underside and a dark gular stripe, where juvenile Eurasian is barred below.

Distribution

A summer visitor to the southern Ukraine and east across southern Russia to Kazakstan and in scattered parts of South-East Europe. There are small, isolated populations in southern Romania and Bulgaria, the former Yugoslavia, probably Albania and in particular, Greece, and has bred in small numbers in south-east Hungary. In addition, breeds in western and northern Turkey and the Caucasus.

Winters in East Africa and seen on passage across Turkey, the Middle East and Egypt. The Bosphorus is the preferred migration route with smaller numbers through the Caucasus and the passage period is mid August-early October, peaking in the second half of September. The return movement takes place in mid-late April. Passage is very concentrated and most of the population move through in a few days in dense flocks.

Vagrants recorded in Poland, Cyprus, Italy and Tunisia and a rare passage migrant to Kuwait.

Taxonomy

This is a monotypic species1.

Habitat

Deciduous woodland, in dry, hilly or lowland areas, often along rivers.

Behaviour

Breeding

It nests in trees, lined with green leaves. The clutch consists of 3-5 eggs.

Diet

Diet includes small birds, insects and lizards.

Vocalisation

The call is a sharp "kee-wick".

References

  1. Clements, JF. 2011. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to August 2011. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
  2. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

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