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Unidentified Bird Of Prey - Sparrow Hawk!

We would appreciate your help in identifying this bird of prey that was sighted on the farm on Sunday!

We are wondering which species of bird of prey this is. We spotted it in our garden in northern England on the North Yorkshire / Lancashire border on Sunday 24th October 2010. We think it may be a Goshawk or maybe a Hen Harrier? It has distinctive white stripes on its head and quite a white breast. We are not sure though so any advice would be appreciated! Thank you!

The footage quality isn't great - we took it through the the window as we didn't want to disturb the bird. When we went out a bit later, we did see some feathers on the grass where the bird was wandering around... We originally thought the bird may be injured by the way it was walking but when we went out later there was no sign of the bird except for the feathers on the grass!

Update! Two expert sources have now confirmed the bird as a Sparrow Hawk! Not quite as exciting but still good! Thanks to everyone for all their efforts in helping to ID this bird!


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I found this picture of a common buzzard which might fit the bill (so to speak) [link]

It could be, but its head markings were quite distinctly not like a buzzard... hmmm.. maybe it could be a male / female thing

I wonder if it's usual for this type of bird to be wandering around on the ground.

Having looked on the RSPB website, it seems to me that it might be an immature goshawk

have sent a request to the RSPB, asking them if they can help identify this bird of prey

Lynda, why dont you get in touch with BBC Autumnwatch, they may be able to help.

that's a good idea mum, did you send them the link to this video?

I asked the RSPB to visit lambwatch.co.uk... I dont know how to send links, Dan

Wish I could help, but although I have an RSPB book here, I can't be sure, especially if it is an immature or female goshawk. Hope your enquiries to the RSPB bring results, but if there were feathers on the ground, it would sound as though the bird had been attacked and was injured. That might indicate a juvenile, and its predator might have returned for it before you went outside? Please tell us if you find out what it was.

It's possible this could be a Great Grey Shrike,,just had a look on the RSP site..

pretty bird call it hopper. hehe hope it made lambwatch a home too like the owls did.

The more I look at the video and compare it with the RSPB videos of Goshawks, the more convinced I am that it was a juvenile Goshawk... the markings above the head are so distinctive

Im sure it isnt a hen harrier

here is the link about the Goshawk from the rspb site. [link]

I've asked around at work and the general conclusion is that it is probably a goshawk. I'll try some bird specialists and see if we can confirm this!

Ooh that's 3 people thinking its a goshawk now!

And Fleur's husband, in Holland, who is a bit of a specialist, thinks the same, thatit is a goshawk.

Hi all, i just sent the clip to a contact at the RSPB, and he is fairly sure that it is a female sparrowhawk. His comments were: Goshawk is always possible, and on this footage there isn’t much to go on. However, what I can see of the pale supercilium (the ‘eyebrow’) says sparrowhawk to me, not goshawk. It’s quite thin and tapers off not far behind the eye, whereas a goshawk’s supercilium is very obvious, thicker, and tends to extend far back, almost onto the nape of the neck, become quite broad in some individuals. I also find a sparrowhawk jumping around in a garden more believable than goshawk – they’re not called “ghosts of the forest” for nothing! Not so exciting, but a well-reasoned answer!

Thats great, thanks Heather for your " detective " work.... youve done a good job !! A sparrowhawk makes more sense really as they have been seen in the area but not for a while. Interesting to learn that goshawks are known as ghosts of the forest. Well done...

I received this from Dan Hume of the Woodlore Team: "I had a look at the video of the raptor and my first thought was that it was a sparrowhawk. However it is quite tricky to judge the size of the bird. A mature sparrowhawk is about the size of a wood pigeon"... Looks like thats it then! It's a sparrow hawk!

They think the bird of prey in Nelson,that snatched a puppy,is a Sparrowhawk too,,it killed a pigoen in Barrowford last year,,

Interesting. Thank heavens for bird sleuths. I learn something new about birds every day, like new words (supercilium). Related to supercilious? Probably. Thanks for all the detective work

maybe the bird ate some fermented berries or some cabbage and was just sobering up?

blood crazed chicken

i know its a bit late but its a female sparrowhawk. regards. www.sparowhawk-island.co.uk