Forum > Identifying Birds > Can You Help Id This Bird Of Prey? Spotted With A Kill In Garden

Missdee Posted 26-Jul-2017 08:54
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26-Jul-2017

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Hi,

Can anyone tell me what this bird is please?

It was spotted with a kill (pigeon I think) in my friends garden. This is about the 3rd time it's taken a kill to her garden and she thinks there is a pair!

Thank you 



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Mickc Posted 26-Jul-2017 11:00
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It looks like a female Sparrowhawk, Missdee.  The females are a little larger than the males and take larger kill. Sparrowhawks often have a favourite place to take their kill and pluck it so it is not surprising that it has returned to your friend's garden more than once.  The only odd thing about the photo is its legs, which appear to have a covering, although the bird's right leg is visible and looks normal.  Perhaps the 'covering' is part of the kill.

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Missdee Posted 26-Jul-2017 11:51
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Thank you mickc!

Yes I see what you mean about the leg covering but I don't think it was part of the kill. My 6 year old thought it was a peregrine bless him.

If she has more pictures I'll post them.

If it's a pair are they likely to have a nest nearby?

Many thanks MissDee

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Mickc Posted 26-Jul-2017 12:56
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Peregrines are very similar to Sparrowhawks and the photo is not very clear on the website, hence my concern about the leg covering.  Peregrines are larger than Sparrowhawks and have similar markings on the front and both have yellow eye rings.  The Peregrine has covered legs but the bird in the photo has an uncovered right leg.  Both have yellow legs and feet.  The Sparrowhawk has a whitish top to its beak and a pale line over its eye, which ties in with the photo.  The Peregrine has a yellow top to its beak.  Peregrine catch their prey in flight and generally take their kill back to the nest.
In answer to your further question, it is possible you have a nest nearby.  Generally the male Sparrowhawk will do the hunting and, being smaller than the female, will not take something as large as a pigeon.  It will often have a favourite post/area where it will take the prey, which will be quite close to a nest.  It will then pluck the kill and often call the female down to collect.  I would expect that any young have fledged by now so perhaps she is just feeding herself.

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