Spot-tailed Sparrowhawk (Accipiter trinotatus)

Spot-tailed Sparrowhawk

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Accipiter trinotatus | [authority] Bonaparte, 1850 | [UK] Spot-tailed Sparrowhawk | [FR] Epervier a queue tachetee | [DE] Fleckschwanz-Sperber | [ES] Gavilan colipinto | [NL] Vlekstaartsperwer


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Accipiter trinotatus 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

This small-sized Sparrowhawk is leaden grey above including head. On head grey gradually becomes lighter on cheeks towards the light grey throat. Has an orange tinged area between eyes and cere. Vague but noticable whitish supercilium. Whitish underparts with vinous red wash on breast and belly, lower belly white. Most important identification marker are the 2 or 3 white spots on uppertail which is unbarred. has a longish body and shorter toes than congeners, reflecting the hunt on mainly lizards. Juveniles barred and unbarred morphs.

Listen to the sound of Spot-tailed Sparrowhawk

[audio: Sparrowhawk.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 29 cm size max.: 31 cm
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Australasia : Sulawesi. Endemic to Sulawesi and the islands of Talisei, Mona, and Butung.


Inhabits primary hill and lower montane forest, tall secondary forest and mangroves, typically perching in the forest understory, close to a tree trunk


No data

Feeding habits

Preys mainly on lizard and snakes, and also eats bats, birds, frogs, grasshoppers, and snails

Video Spot-tailed Sparrowhawk


copyright: Josep del Hoyo


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not 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). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, 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.
Spot-tailed Sparrowhawk status Least Concern



Distribution map

Spot-tailed Sparrowhawk distribution range map

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