Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Discover the ZEISS Digital Nature Hub

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Confirm Sparrowhawk gender please - London UK

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 06:25   #1
ChrisKten
It's true, I quite like Pigeons
 
ChrisKten's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: London UK
Posts: 59,513
Confirm Sparrowhawk gender please - London UK

As some of you will know, I see Sparrowhawks often, and I'm fortunate to see many kills. I've seen males take birds up to the size of Collared Doves, but Starlings/Blackbirds are usually the largest prey for males. This bird took and ate a Pigeon yesterday, and it's quite large compared to the other males that I see.

There's hardly any supercilium, and there's signs of rufous cheeks; I'd guess this was a 2nd or even 3rd year male. But it's size, and the fact that it controlled killed a healthy Pigeon quite quickly, is more on a par with a female.

So I thought I'd better confirm that it's a male. Pics taken through grubby windows, and in very poor light, but enough detail for sexing I think. I've loads more pics, but I think these two show enough to compare size and see the lack of supercilium etc.

Thanks.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	P2150777RGpf.JPG
Views:	282
Size:	274.0 KB
ID:	305985  Click image for larger version

Name:	P2150928RGpf.JPG
Views:	186
Size:	264.4 KB
ID:	305986  
ChrisKten is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 07:11   #2
Cristian Mihai
Cristian Mihai
 
Cristian Mihai's Avatar

 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Bucharest
Posts: 17,004
It looks like a male indeed. Probably not an full adult bird.

Last edited by Cristian Mihai : Sunday 30th January 2011 at 07:58.
Cristian Mihai is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 07:46   #3
ChrisKten
It's true, I quite like Pigeons
 
ChrisKten's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: London UK
Posts: 59,513
Thanks for confirming it Cristian.
ChrisKten is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 08:50   #4
OlaB
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Göteborg, Sweden
Posts: 766
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cristian Mihai View Post
It looks like a male indeed. Probably not an full adult bird.
I agree! Seems to have retained a few juvenile secondaries and tail feathers (as far as I can judge from the pictures). A very probable 3 cy male for me.
__________________
Ola Bäckman
OlaB is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 11:21   #5
acorn
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 139
Its a female 100%
Regards
Colin
acorn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 13:03   #6
pauco
Старлинг фан
 
pauco's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: lancashire
Posts: 4,476
Adult Female, nothing to show anything otherwise.
__________________


Paul.
pauco is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 13:13   #7
ChrisKten
It's true, I quite like Pigeons
 
ChrisKten's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: London UK
Posts: 59,513
Oh, I still favour a young male, but I wouldn't have started the thread if I was positive.

A couple more pics might help. Counting myself; it's 3 -2 in favour of a young male so far.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	P2160175RGpf.JPG
Views:	107
Size:	269.2 KB
ID:	306036  Click image for larger version

Name:	P2150833RGpf.JPG
Views:	96
Size:	245.2 KB
ID:	306037  Click image for larger version

Name:	P2160034RGpf.JPG
Views:	99
Size:	264.7 KB
ID:	306038  
ChrisKten is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 13:24   #8
Cristian Mihai
Cristian Mihai
 
Cristian Mihai's Avatar

 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Bucharest
Posts: 17,004
Hmmm, the breast streaks look better for female, but... I really don't know...
Cristian Mihai is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 13:26   #9
Mike Price
Registered User

 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: The Edge of the Dark Peak
Posts: 532
tarus looks very big for a male, prey is a little large as well?

Rufous on lower cheeks only not the upper chest.

I'm thinking female, uniformly dark ear coverts and quite a deep eye I think its first adult.

My usual disclaimer stands though I am a newbie and learning so happy to be corrected.

Last edited by Mike Price : Sunday 30th January 2011 at 13:41.
Mike Price is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 13:26   #10
King Edward
Registered User

 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Herefordshire
Posts: 542
Looks much more like a female to me, mainly on the basis that it looks large and extremely robust. Especially in the first photo, where it looks considerably larger than the pigeon. I wouldn't have said the cheeks look at all orange-tinged, nor the breast feathers. I think just a female with a faint supercilium.
King Edward is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 13:33   #11
ChrisKten
It's true, I quite like Pigeons
 
ChrisKten's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: London UK
Posts: 59,513
OK, this is what I use when I'm not sure:

http://www.ibercajalav.net/img/118_S...hawkAnisus.pdf

But sometimes, like now, I'm still not sure even after studying it. The prey was a Feral Pigeon, but the Sparrowhawk, though large, was still smaller than the Pigeon. The lack of supercilium is a bit confusing, as all young birds have them, but they fade in the males?

I really do see these birds often, and my first impression was a large male. But I guess it could be a small female without any eyebrows.
ChrisKten is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 13:37   #12
bongofury
Registered User
 
bongofury's Avatar

 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Hamilton, Scotland
Posts: 2,355
For what its worth, I would have said female too.
__________________
Latest UK: Cattle Egret (237) Corn Bunting (238) Chough (239) White-rumped Sandpiper (240) Snow Goose (241) Barn Owl (242) Greater Sand Plover (243)[BOU]
Latest Garden: Tree Sparrow (49) Raven (50)Arctic Redpoll (51) Skylark (52) House Martin (53)
bongofury is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 13:46   #13
ChrisKten
It's true, I quite like Pigeons
 
ChrisKten's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: London UK
Posts: 59,513
Just to give an idea of size; this is one of the smaller females with a Pigeon. I don't get decent pics of the females as often as the males, mainly due to the poor light that they seem to prefer in my garden. And this picture was taken in the pouring rain and through the window. But it gives an idea that the bird I'm asking about, isn't really that big (or is it my eyes again?)

Apologies for the poor quality, but I'm rushing about a bit, and it's the first one I found.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	P1470994R2pf.JPG
Views:	118
Size:	217.2 KB
ID:	306040  
ChrisKten is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 13:51   #14
jtwood
Registered Member

 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Shetland
Posts: 33,235
Female for me Chris!
jtwood is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2010 2011 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 13:59   #15
ChrisKten
It's true, I quite like Pigeons
 
ChrisKten's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: London UK
Posts: 59,513
Thanks for all the replies; female has won the vote.

No matter how often I see these birds, I can't seem to sex them accurately. I think that unless I see an adult male with textbook plumage, I won't even suggest the gender from now on.
ChrisKten is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 15:19   #16
OlaB
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Göteborg, Sweden
Posts: 766
Well, I have to say that I can accept this as a female after consideration and the new photos. The apparent absence of super threw me off and some young males can show quite little rufous. Interesting.
__________________
Ola Bäckman
OlaB is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 17:01   #17
ChrisKten
It's true, I quite like Pigeons
 
ChrisKten's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: London UK
Posts: 59,513
I still think it's a young male.
ChrisKten is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 17:09   #18
OlaB
Registered User

 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Göteborg, Sweden
Posts: 766
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisKten View Post
I still think it's a young male.
Didn't say I was definitely convinced. Sparrowhawks really can be a pain in the ***.
__________________
Ola Bäckman
OlaB is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 30th January 2011, 17:19   #19
ChrisKten
It's true, I quite like Pigeons
 
ChrisKten's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: London UK
Posts: 59,513
Quote:
Originally Posted by OlaB View Post
Didn't say I was definitely convinced. Sparrowhawks really can be a pain in the ***.
Yes, they can.

I get mostly immature birds, only one definite adult of each sex lately, which makes it even harder for me. The most I've had (a few weeks ago) during the same period was 5 birds; 3 immature, 1 adult female, 1 adult male. From what I see, and from how many I'm unsure about, they aren't easy to sex unless they're adults with classic plumage.

The only reason I could tell the 3 younger birds apart was size, and some quite distinct white patches (one on the back of one of their heads, and one on the back). But of course, these white patches will probably have gone now.
ChrisKten is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 31st January 2011, 19:10   #20
Jaysan
Registered User
 
Jaysan's Avatar

 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Midlothian
Posts: 1,569
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisKten View Post
Oh, I still favour a young male, but I wouldn't have started the thread if I was positive.

A couple more pics might help. Counting myself; it's 3 -2 in favour of a young male so far.
Hi Chris.

This is unrelated to the topic in question. But wonder if anybody knows the answer.

It couldn't have possibly eaten the whole pigeon in one go. What did it do once it had its feed? Did it take the remainder back to its nest? If so, do sparrowhawks have a nest the whole year around? If not where do they roost at night?
Thanks.
Jaysan is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2017 2018 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Monday 31st January 2011, 20:06   #21
ChrisKten
It's true, I quite like Pigeons
 
ChrisKten's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: London UK
Posts: 59,513
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaysan View Post
Hi Chris.

This is unrelated to the topic in question. But wonder if anybody knows the answer.

It couldn't have possibly eaten the whole pigeon in one go. What did it do once it had its feed? Did it take the remainder back to its nest? If so, do sparrowhawks have a nest the whole year around? If not where do they roost at night?
Thanks.
Well it (I'll stick with "it" from now on ) was in the garden for almost 3 hours. The initial kill was quick for prey this size, only took a couple of minutes. (Apart from the odd lucky bird, all prey above Sparrow size gets eaten alive) So it was feeding within 10 minutes (plucking eating, they don't pluck the prey then eat) rather than struggling with the prey while trying to eat.

Apart from a few rests for digestion, and a couple of minutes watching a Squirrel get too close, the whole time was spent eating. However, the last 30 minutes was spent resting on the fence.

There wasn't much left of the Pigeon, but enough for a snack I guess. Another Sparrowhawk (a larger "it" ) tried to fly into the garden to finish off the Pigeon, but was spooked a few times by neighbours. The original Sparrowhawk returned at first light to finish off it's meal, but I heard a Cat drag off the remains in the night. The Sparrowhawk knew where it left it's meal, and I watched it cautiously approach the spot. When it realised it's meal was gone, it spent a while on the fence trying to catch Mice. It swooped down 3 times, but missed each time.

I often see Sparrowhawks return to the garden to finish off their meal, but more often it's during the evening. They do sometimes carry off a half eaten corpse, and I think they can stash food (in a tree?) to eat later.

Rushed that a bit, and give you more info than you requested. Anyway, have to go until tomorrow.
ChrisKten is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 4th February 2011, 16:29   #22
Jaysan
Registered User
 
Jaysan's Avatar

 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Midlothian
Posts: 1,569
Thanks Chris. I was not back until now to read your reply. Very interesting.
Jaysan is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2017 2018 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Confirm 2, not sure about another please - London UK ChrisKten Bird Identification Q&A 13 Monday 13th December 2010 14:06
Confirm Peregrine please - London UK ChrisKten Bird Identification Q&A 9 Saturday 30th January 2010 12:10
Sparrowhawk - London UK ChrisKten Bird Identification Q&A 5 Sunday 29th November 2009 09:57
Different Sparrowhawk - London UK ChrisKten Bird Identification Q&A 14 Friday 4th September 2009 08:28
Please confirm Chinese Sparrowhawk ChinaBirds Bird Identification Q&A 6 Tuesday 30th January 2007 07:31



Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.28055501 seconds with 37 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 08:19.