Dwarf Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nanus)

Dwarf Sparrowhawk

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Accipiter nanus | [authority] Blasius, 1897 | [UK] Dwarf Sparrowhawk | [FR] Epervier des Celebes | [DE] Archboldsperber | [ES] Gavilancito de Celebes | [NL] Celebesdwergsperwer


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Accipiter nanus AU Sulawesi


Members of the genus Accipiter are small and medium-sized hawks, often called Sparrow-hawks or Goshawks. The females are almost invariably much larger than the males – in some cases weighing twice as much – a level of size dimorphism only exceptionally reached in any other genus Falconiformes. Their wings are short and rounded; the tail usually quite long. They are well adapted for flying through dense bush. Bird-catching Sparrow-hawks generally have long and slender legs, with slender digits, the middle one being especially long. Goshawks are usually larger, with shorter, thicker tarsi and digits and a shorter middle digit. Some smaller species have goshawk-like feet and vice versa, making it difficult on a world-wide basis to subdivide the genus on this or any other broad basis. Although many accipiters feed upon birds moreso than do other hawks, some species take many mammals, especially squirrels; others take lizards, frogs, snakes, insects, even snails. In these species the legs and digits are sometimes slender, but short. Accipiters are rarely crested, but some have very attractive colour patterns. Black phases are present, especially in the tropical species. One in Australia has the only pure white phase. Accipiter is the largest genus in the family, having about fifty species. It is present worldwide, but is especially rich in Papua-New Guinea, where a small island like New Britain may have three to five endemic species or distinct sub-species.

Physical charateristics

Lead grey upperparts and reddish underparts becoming white towards belly. It has white thighs which is indicative compared to congeners A. rhodogaster and A. trinotatus. It has long toes, no spots on tail and the the male and female differ only slightly in size.

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 23 cm size max.: 28 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
      eggs max.: 0  


Australasia : Sulawesi


It inhabits montane and hilly forest at 550-2,000 meter.


Few data, only one nest ever found in a small tree in montane forest. No further data.

Feeding habits

Diet consists of mostly insects like grasshoppers and cicadas. Also small birds and snails. Hunts by taking prey of ground with a fast dive.

Video Dwarf Sparrowhawk


copyright: Martin Kennewell


This species is classifed as Near Threatened; although it is very poorly known and difficult to identify, the paucity of records suggest that it is uncommon and it is probably declining. However the montane forests it inhabits are relatively secure and a better understanding of its status may lead to it being downlisted.
Forest loss in the lower-lying areas of Sulawesi has been extensive in recent decades and has probably caused this species to decline.
Dwarf Sparrowhawk status Near Threatened



Distribution map

Dwarf Sparrowhawk distribution range map

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