Is this a male Sparrowhawk?

Saw this bird kill a pigeon on the CCTV camera in my back garden yesterday. Luckily it returned to the scene of the crime this morning and I managed to get off a couple of snaps with the iPhone. Can anyone please confirm if it’s a male Sparrowhawk?

It was barely as big as the pigeon it caught. Reading up online it said only the larger females can take something pigeon-sized, and that males stick to smaller birds (like sparrows I guess).

  • Thanks for posting. I've been on the forum for what must be a decade now. Every now and then, people quote how males catch small birds up to about the size of blackbirds. I've said how males catch collared doves routinely and I saw two caught in a week at my previous house. I've also documented how males can also catch pigeons. I saw one with a live wood pigeon, holding it down in the road, holding up traffic as it tried to dispatch the pigeon.

    Sparrowhawks are variable in size, not just male v female. I am sure some males would find it impossible to kill wood pigeons. But some do. Predators often aren't bigger than prey.

    I hope you don't mind if I link to this post in future?

  • In reply to Robbo:

    A male spar that regularly gets into pigeon-catching territory is going to be a success in feeding in a nest. Should be an attraction come next nesting season.

    In a similar vein, a male hen harrier that provisions more than one nest will become an attraction.
  • An interesting thread, especially as I'm still learning lots.

    What would be nice is if the CCTV footage could be uploaded to somewhere like YouTube, taking into consideration YouTubes child friendly option, and a link from this thread to the footage.


    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • In reply to Robbo:

    "Sparrowhawks are variable in size, not just male v female."

    To put some facts onto your statement.

    (from BTO BirdFacts -

    Body Weight
    Male 131.0 - 180.0 g
    Female 186.0 - 345.0 g

    The largest recorded male is only 6g lighter than the smallest recorded female.