The male sparrowhawk is one of the smallest British raptors, with short rounded upperparts and is white below, closely barred with orange. females are larger with brown upperparts and dark-barred underparts. Their broad, rounded wings and long tail are adapted for flying between trunks and branches enabling them to weave in and out of trees at high speed. They never hover like kestrels.
They prefer conifer woodlands for nesting but are also found in broad-leaved woodland and even thick hedges. Most recently they have spread into urban parks and cemeteries and are now regular garden visitors. They tend to have traditional territories and will usually build new nests each year. Their diet is made up almost exclusively of small birds.
Incubation: 33-35 days
Fledging: 24-30 days
Maximum lifespan: 11 years