Chinese Sparrowhawk

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Common Name: Chinese Sparrowhawk or Grey Frog Hawk
Scientific Name: Accipiter soloensis

Size: 11.8-14.1 inches (30–36 cm); Wingspan: 20.4-24.4 inches (52-62 cm)

Habitat: Eurasia; Southeastern Ussuriland (Green Ukraine), Korea, Central and Eastern China and Taiwan. Almost completely migratory, except in Taiwan where it is sedentary. Some birds winter in South East China, in Guangdong and on Hainan; most move farther South, reaching Indochina, peninsular Malaysia, Philippines, Greater and Lesser Sundas, Sulawesi and the West tip of New Guinea. The major migration routes are through Korea, West Kyushu (Japan) and the Ryukyu Islands towards Taiwan; the migration is detected in September and early October, but it is not well known in spring. Considerable movement is also recorded over Bali, where almost 1000 birds were seen from early October to early November 1990; the movement over North Sulawesi is in early March and early October and birds arrive in Ussuriland in early May.

It prefers forests and wooded areas near wetlands or rice paddy fields.

Status: Least Concern. Global population: 10,000 to 100,000 adult individuals. The current population trend appears to be stable or in slight decline. Ongoing habitat destruction and human persecution are concerns.

Diet: Frogs, but will take lizards and grasshoppers as well.

They catch prey mostly on the ground in open country, where they scan from perches, then make short stoops. They also take some prey from flight.

Nesting: It is clear dark blue to slate colored above, including the upper side of its tail feathers. The outermost tail feathers are barred with slate and black. The sides of the head and neck are paler grey. The chin and throat are white with black shaft streaks. The upper breast and belly are washed pale rufous on a grey background, sometimes lightly barred with grey. The belly and under-tail coverts are white, the base of thighs grey. The underside of the tail is white at its base, terminating grey with five narrow black bars. The under-wing coverts are pale rufous. The outer primaries are black from below, the inner primaries and secondaries being white with grey tips forming a clearly visible white patch under the wing. The eyes are dark red to brown, the cere and legs yellow. Females are larger than the males but otherwise very similar.

Immature individuals are dark sepia above with pale edges to the feathers; the tail is pale brown with four broad dark bars. Below is white, heavily blotched with dark brown and black with some more rufous barring on the sides. The tail is grey below with four dark bars. The under-wing coverts are pale rufous. The outer primaries are dark brown, the inner primaries and secondaries are grey at the tips and pale pink basally, with dark bars.

During breeding season, the males repeatedly chase the females, often in small groups of up to seven. The males also perform vigorous undulating displays, the downward dives of a hundred feet or more, much more striking than those of most of the genus. The male feeds the female with frogs during this period. Pairs will later soar together over the breeding ground, with short bursts of wing-flapping interspersed with glides. During display, which lasts about two weeks, the birds are very obvious and noisy, but once nest-building has begun they become silent and more secretive.

A new nest is built each year, and is quite quickly constructed. Most building in Korea occurs between the 1st and 10th of June. Nests are built in small clumps of trees near rice fields or marshes, from 6-10 m from the ground. They are loose structures of twigs lined with fresh green leaves, often chestnut leaves, occasionally with sprigs of conifer or pieces of bark. Fresh leaves are added almost daily during the incubation period. 3-4 pale bluish grey eggs are laid in early to mid-June. The female only incubates, and is fed on the nest by the male. The eggs hatch about the first week of July, indicating an incubation period of less than 30 days.

Cool Facts: This bird is also called the “Grey Frog Hawk”

This 3D Model is found in Songbird ReMix Birds of Prey Volume II: Hawks of the Old World

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