Visitor might be a collared sparrow hawk

Graham Loomes took this photo from his porch.
Graham Loomes took this photo from his porch.

The Weekender sent the photograph to Department of Parks and Wildlife senior wildlife officer Rick Dawson.

‘I’d be inclined to believe that it is a collared sparrow hawk (CSH), although it is hard to separate out from the brown goshawk (BG) as their colour patterns are very similar,’ Mr Dawson said.

‘There are two key ids between the two species: the BG is generally larger and has a rounded tail and the CSH has a very square tail at the edges that is slightly forked in the centre. The photo provides no help in either of these areas.’

Two factors led Mr Dawson to believe it could be a collared sparrow hawk:
– When a CSH is perched their legs look decidedly thinner and appear longer in proportion to the body than a BG.
– CSH toes are more slender than those of the BG and the middle toe is more slender and considerably longer than the other toes.

‘Another factor that may assist is that CSHs are generally ‘trusting, approachable’ and BGs are generally ‘solitary, secretive’,’ Mr Dawson said.

‘If we accept that the photograph is taken close up then it is most likely to be a CSB.’