Black Sparrowhawk ( Accipiter melanoleucus, family: Accipitridae)

black sparrowhawk Kruger National Park birdsThe Black Sparrowhawk (Latin name Accipiter melanoleucus) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 158 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 520 also a picture of the Black Sparrowhawk on page 433. The Black Sparrowhawk belongs to the family of birds classified as Accipitridae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the Black Sparrowhawk is also known by these other names: Great Sparrowhawk, Black Goshawk.

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps.

The Black Sparrowhawk is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park.

In terms of distribution of the Black Sparrowhawk in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Black Sparrowhawk : see above distribution map.

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

One of the first indicators to take note of when trying to identify a bird is it relative size. For example how big is the bird compared to a well known familiar bird. The Black Sparrowhawk is a largish bird about the same size as a Pied Crow. The height of the Black Sparrowhawk is about 58 cms and its weight is about 540 gms.

The male and female Black Sparrowhawk have the same plumage and colours .

  • Head is black.
  • Eye is red.
  • Bill is black.
  • Throat is white.
  • Back is black, grey.
  • Legs are yellow.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Black Sparrowhawk feeds on the ground, and on the wing mainly...


Other Birds.

Smaller animals.

Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Black Sparrowhawk is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Accipiter melanoleucus will seek out a new mate.

The nesting habit of Black Sparrowhawk is to create the nest in branches of a tree or shrub. The bird lays eggs which are green in colour and number between 1 to 4.

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Black Sparrowhawk are: woodlands and grasslands and riverine areas.

You will normally see the Black Sparrowhawk by itself rather than in the company of birds of the same species.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Unknown

Zulu ... Unknown

Afrikaans ...Swartsperwer

German ... Mohrenhabicht, Trauerhabicht

Portuguese ... Aor-preto

French ... Autour noir

Dutch ... Zwarte Havik

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 158

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website , .