Aug 292014

Goshawk vs sparrowhawk
Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) vs Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

If we see the raptor flying it is hard to identify, which bird we saw.

Goshawk vs sparrowhawk
Canon 200mm f/2.8+2x converter

Goshawk vs sparrowhawk

I had the same dilemma with this shot. Why is the dilemma? Because the two raptors looks quite similar. The shape of the wings, the tail, and the colors are very similar especially from longer distances. If the bird is closer it is much easier to identify.


Approximately a buzzard sized bird, but very strong, can prey an adult rabbit, or everything up to that size. Even can eat raptors like Owls, Buzzards, or Eagle chicks.


The Sparrowhawk is mostly eats small birds. The Sparrowhawk is much smaller sized like the Goshawk. A male Sparrowhawk is smaller than a Rook.


-Sparrowhawk is much more common, especially in cities, Goshawk is more rare
-Goshawk is usually bigger
-male Sparrowhawk has browinsh-orange color in the chest, which is not for Goshawk
– Goshawk has white featers above the tail
– Goshawk is usually more fat.
– legs of the Goshawk are more strong
– Sparrowhawk tail is more square, while Goshawk’s tail is more round
– Goshawk has orange eyes, Sparrowhawk has Yellow eyes (only can be seen from close distances)

Based on the above, the raptor on the picture more like a Sparrowhawk. (Square shaped tail, not so fat).

The most obvious difference of the species is the size between the birds, usually the female are 20% bigger at both species. The Goshawk usually significantly bigger. But a big female Sparrowhawk and a smaller male Goshawk can be quie similar in size. And if the birds are not so close to us it is sometimes hard to judge the size of the bird from the distance.

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