Frances's sparrowhawk

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Frances's sparrowhawk
Francess sparrowhawk cropped.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Accipiter
A. francesiae
Binomial name
Accipiter francesiae
Smith, 1834

Accipiter francesii

Frances's sparrowhawk (Accipiter francesiae) is a small bird of prey. The nominate subspecies, A. f. francesiae, is endemic to Madagascar.

The name commemorates Lady Frances Cole (died 1847), wife of the Cape Colony governor Lowry Cole.[3]


It is grey with a light belly. It has orange eyes and feet, a yellow cere and a black beak. The size of each hawk varies from 28 – 35 cm for a male and 104 – 140 g for a female 112 – 185 g and their wingspan is around 40 – 54 cm.


The hawks feed on a range of prey including mammals, birds, lizards, frogs, and large insects. They knock small mammals, lizards and frog off trees or trunks of trees to shock them and then make the kill. They generally attack flying insects and birds flying straight towards the prey and catching them in mid-flight.


The Frances's Sparrow-Hawk is found only in Madagascar and live in dense forests, large gardens, parks and coconut plantations. They live mostly on the edges of forests.


The sparrow-hawks build large stick nests in the upper fork of large trees usually 5 - 15m from the ground. The location of the nests change from year to year and they usually breed in October to December the clutch varies from 3 - 4 eggs they measure around 37 x 29 mm but the average survival rate of the eggs is 1.5. Eggs usually have different and unique marking on them. The eggs are usually a greyish-white.


The Frances's sparrowhawk has no real predators. At one point during the 1900s to 1980s, however, it did look like the hawks would go extinct because of chemicals that had been poisoning the hawk. After these chemicals were banned, the hawks' numbers slowly increased and now it is estimated that more than 32,000 breeding pairs live throughout Madagascar. Traditional hunting still occurs.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Accipiter francesiae". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Frances's Goshawk". Avibase.
  3. ^ Jobling, James A (1991). A Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. OUP. ISBN 0 19 854634 3.