Friday, December 30, 2011

Black Sparrowhawk

Accipiter melanoleucus
The Black Sparrowhawk is one of many species of Hawk found within the genus Accipiter. They measure less than two feet from head to tail, but are the largest of all the Sparrowhawks.

This particular species can be found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, living in just about any non-desert ecosystem that also supports large trees for nesting. Black Sparrowhwaks are very particular about the trees that they nest in; the foliage must provide good coverage for the offspring, and the tree cannot be too deep into the forest.

Black Sparrowhwaks form monogamous pair bonds for life, and it is not at all uncommon for a pair to raise multiple broods at a time. They typically have two nests going at once, with a second set of eggs laid when the first set of chicks as fledged but have not yet left their parents care.

Suburban areas have been good for the species, as they absolutely love hunting doves and pigeons which have increased in number along with man-made development and expansion. They also pick off the occasional chicken, and can even capture birds as large as Guineafowl.

The ability for the Black Sparrowhawk to adapt to new environments has allowed them to maintain a large, widespread population, and they are not currently threatened.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Sub-Saharan Africa
Size : Length up to 22in (58cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Falconiformes
Family : Accipitridae -- Genus : Accipiter -- Species : A. melanoleucus

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