Irish: Spoiróg no Seabhac
Latin: Accipiter nisus
Small raptor with rather short blunt tipped wings and long tail. Its flight, with a few quick wingbeats relieved by a short glide, is distinctive. The male is small and has slate-blue upperparts and rufous-pink throat, breast and belly. The larger female has slate-grey upperparts and is whitish underneath with grey-brown barring.
Sparrowhawks are very widespread in Ireland and breeds wherever there is suitable woodland and scrub for nesting and small birds as prey.
Sparrowhawk prey upon a wide range of other birds, females tending to take larger birds. Birds eaten include thrushes, tits, woodpigeons, finches and sparrows.
Usually builds its nest close to the trunk in coniferous trees or in deciduous trees or uses old nests. Lays 4-6 eggs in May, incubates for 31-33 days and chicks fledge after 26-30 days.
A rough estimate for the Irish sparrowhawk population is 11,000 pairs and they are present in every county.