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Sparrowhawk, Ovambo

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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wildtuinman
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Sparrowhawk, Ovambo

Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Aug 25, 2005 1:58 pm

Does anyone have a nice picture of Ovambo Sparrowhawk?

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Unread postby DuQues » Thu Aug 25, 2005 2:03 pm

This guy does....
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Dec 28, 2005 1:19 pm

I saw yet another one, and got great pics of it close to my home in PTA. Anyone interested in seeing it let me know and I'll gladly take you there as it is currently nesting.

At one stage a vervet monkey was scaling a nearby tree and the Ovambo without hesitation attacked it with full force. I never in my life saw a vervet moving as fast in mid air and never before seen any bird maneuvering with such precision in very dense foliage.

Will post the pics soonest.
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Unread postby francoisd » Wed Dec 28, 2005 2:21 pm

Maybe you can every now and then place a chicken egg in the nest to keep it occupied until I'm in Pretoria in February. I still need to tick this bird

Looking forward to the photos!
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Fri Dec 30, 2005 10:42 am

It was really not easy to id this bird, but eventually I managed to. It seems to have a "klieeu...klieeu...klieeu" call in breeding times, otherwise it is silent.

The nest, very high up in normally an eucalyptis(bloekom boom) tree in a stand of dense similar trees, is very rough and covered with leaves and sticks. It is normally well overlooked cause of the leave cover of the trees and hight, but is normally the first tell tale sign that it is home to a sparrowhawk.

The cere and legs seems orange coloured but may even vary from yellow to reddish.

It flies extremely swiftly between the dense foliage, farely high in the air with great maneuverability. Very long tail and broad wings.

The head seems quite small for the size of the bird. The back is uniformly grey with, not always, 2 whitish spots on the higher side of each of the wings. The front is light coloured with feint grey stripes.

It seems to adapt well to people, but I have to say that this one made me sweat to get a clear look at it.

Good luck in your quest to find it!
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Unread postby LittleLeopard » Fri Dec 30, 2005 11:00 am

wildtuinman wrote:The cere and legs seems orange coloured but may even vary from yellow to reddish.


What is a cere? :redface:

wildtuinman wrote:The head seems quite small for the size of the bird.


I noticed this, but thought it was the angle of your shot. :wink:

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Unread postby lam » Fri Dec 30, 2005 2:27 pm

LittleLeopard wrote:
wildtuinman wrote:The cere and legs seems orange coloured but may even vary from yellow to reddish.


What is a cere? :redface:


The cere is the bit above the bill.
Last edited by lam on Fri Dec 30, 2005 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby LittleLeopard » Fri Dec 30, 2005 3:24 pm

Thanks, lam :P

Still have so much to learn :redface: :redface:
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:20 am

Had excellent sightings of this species feeding on prey over the weekend.
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Unread postby sioux » Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:42 am

We had some excitement in our garden yesterday. We looked up when we heard a commotion as the doves flew off in a panic. It was (we think) an Ovambo Sparrhowhawk chasing a dove. As they were quite close, we got a quick (but good) look at his underside and saw the stripes on his tail and wings, I am not a fundi on birds but my SO is 90% sure.

Also had the Redthroated Wryneck visiting twice this weekend and we think he has made a nest in our indigenous garden! Will try to get a photo in due course.

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Unread postby deefstes » Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:15 am

Another useful bit of info on the cere of the Ovambo Spar is that it often appears to be quite fleshy (moreso than other Accipiters). Most Accipiters look very sleek but the cere of the Ovambo Spar almost looks like a growth - a bit like a Kerkplein Pigeon.

Another handy bit is that, when you see an immature bird, the Ovambo Spar is the only Accipiter with an eye brow. Actually, the African Goshawk also has it but you'd be unlikely to confuse Ovambo Spar and AfGos.

With these Accipiters, it is mostly a trivial task to identify them if you see a typical adult. The combination of leg, cere and eye colours and the barring is often sufficient to clinchan ID. But when you look at juveniles and immatures is when it becomes very tricky. So it is very useful to know that, if you see an eye brow, you have an Ovambo Sparrowhawk.
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Unread postby sioux » Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:55 am

deefstes, thank you very much for the feedback and pointers on how to ID. We were in two minds as to whether it may be a Chanting Goshawk but dismissed this because of its distribution. Will look out for the eyebrow next time.

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Unread postby deefstes » Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:01 pm

OK, just bear in mind that the Chanting Goshawks are not Accipiters but of the genus Melierax. I'm not sure about the Dark Chanting Goshawk but the immature Pale Chanting Goshawk can also show an eye brow.
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Unread postby Bush Baptist » Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:59 pm

Sorry, only seen one outside the forum's catchment area :roll:
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Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:12 am

I contacted the birding group from my mother's retirement Village about an out of season "Piet my Vroe" and they told me that they had been watching a pair of Ovambo Sparrow Hawks for months.

I will try to accompany them to the site and get a picture in the near future.
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