Rufous-necked Sparrowhawk (Accipiter erythrauchen)

Rufous-necked Sparrowhawk

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Accipiter erythrauchen | [authority] Gray, 1861 | [UK] Rufous-necked Sparrowhawk | [FR] Epervier a gorge grise | [DE] Rotnacken-Sperber | [ES] Gavilancito Moluqueno | [NL] Molukkensperwer


Monotypic species


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

Small raptor with a bright rufous collar. Underparts uniformly rufous. Dark slaty grey upperparts, under belly whitish.No bars in tail.Yellow cere and whitish throat. Juveniles are barred like the average sparrowhawk. Subspecies A. ceramensis much more pale on belly and under belly.

Listen to the sound of Rufous-necked Sparrowhawk

[audio: Sparrowhawk.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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size min.: 28 cm size max.: 35 cm
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Australasia : Moluccas


Inhabits primary and tall secondary lowland and hill forest, forest edge, disturbed forest, and, locally, coastal plantations (Obi). Inconspicuous, often perching in dense canopy foliage at the forest edge. Not known to soar. Occurs singly, or occasionally in pairs


No data

Feeding habits

Feeds on small to medium-sized birds (e.g., Red Lory), which it captures after swift, dashing flights


Although this species may have a restricted range, it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Rufous-necked Sparrowhawk status Least Concern


Non-migratory, but juveniles disperse from breeding areas

Distribution map

Rufous-necked Sparrowhawk distribution range map

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