Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player


Search in the Encyclopedia

Dieren en planten

Raptors   Eurasian sparrowhawk   Harriers   Falcons   Cuckoo   Raptors and owls   Warblers   

Water en land

Sparrowhawk, Eurasian


28-38 centimeters
wingspan: 60-75 centimeters

color (adults):

dark grey, orange-striped belly (males), white-black striped belly (females)


songbirds, collared doves

Dutch status:

nesting bird and winter guest


woodlands and (pine) forests, also in cities


maturity: 1 year old
number of eggs per netst: 4-5

life span:

3 years (maximum known age: +20 years)

special nature:

rapid wing movement interchanged with glides

  • Dut: Sperwer
  • Eng: Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  • Ger: Sperber
  • Lat: Accipiter nisus
Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Bert de Boer

Eurasian sparrowhawk

You can really get a fright! With their broad, stubby wings and long tail, Eurasian sparrowhawks fly low above the ground at a rapid speed. It is not unusual to see them flying low between the banks of a ditch in order to approach the prey unseen. People used to believe that cuckoos changed into sparrowhawks in the wintertime. Afterall, they look a lot alike, and sparrowhawks were only seen in the winter before they started nesting in the Netherlands and cuckoos in the summer.

  • Did you know that...

    ... the difference in size between female and male sparrowhawks is the greatest among birds. The fact that the male is smaller also means it is more agile, which comes in handy when hunting small rapid birds.

  • Protection
    • Monitoring: Network Ecological Monitoring
    • Policy: Target Species List
    • National legislation: Flora and Fauna Regulation
    • European Agreement: Bird Directive, CITES ordinance
    • International: Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), Bern Convention, Bonn Convention