One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A small Old World woodland hawk that preys on small birds.
Genus Accipiter, family Accipitridae: many species, in particular the widespread northern sparrowhawk (A. nisus)
- ‘We frequently come across tired, distressed birds while walking and cycling in isolated areas but the sparrowhawks seem to get the blame for any non-returning bird to the loft.’
- ‘Today, dozens of different birds stop by, from goldfinches, tits and sparrowhawks to ducks, doves and pheasants.’
- ‘Birds of prey also suffered, with many sparrowhawks and kestrels too badly injured to survive, though many owls were successfully treated and released.’
- ‘Mr Reardon, a member of the Scottish Pigeon Racing Union, said members were calling for a cull of all falcons, including the sparrowhawk, because they were attacking pigeons and other song birds.’
- ‘A sparrowhawk was calmly finishing off a blackbird six feet from my head.’
- ‘The sparrowhawk is a serious threat to adult pied flycatchers and is the only common bird of prey in our study area.’
- ‘So why cannot hen harriers, sparrowhawks and goshawks be controlled to protect lapwings, curlews, golden plovers and, yes, pheasants and grouse?’
- ‘No doubt the element of surprise plays a large part in their capture of prey, but sparrowhawks are capable of performing remarkable pursuits and captures of such fast-flying birds as the redshank.’
- 1.1North American The American kestrel.
- ‘The windhover is related to the American sparrowhawk.’
- ‘It is closely related to the American sparrowhawk, which it resembles in size.’
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