Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus)


French: Épervier à collier roux German: Sydneysperber Spanish: Gavilán acollarado

Sparvius cirrocephalus


, 1817,

New Holland = New South Wales, Australia


Emendation of original species name to cirrhocephalus not justified. Traditionally thought to be closely related to A. erythrauchen, and these two generally considered to form a species-group with A. brachyurus and possibly A. rhodogaster. Recent phylogenetic analyses, however, suggested possible close relationship of present species with A. gularis and A. virgatus#R. Birds of N Australia sometimes recognized as race quaesitandus, but regarded as doubtfully valid. Three subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. c. papuanus (Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1913) – W Papuan Is, New Guinea, including Yapen I (in Geelvink Bay), and Aru Is.
  • A. c. rosselianus Mayr, 1940 – Rossel I (Louisiade Archipelago).
  • A. c. cirrocephalus (Vieillot, 1817) – Australia, Tasmania.
  • Descriptive notes

    27–38 cm; male 100–156 g, female 162–300 g; wingspan 53–77 cm. Smallish Accipiter with greyish head, rufous collar and rufous-barred... read more


    In nesting season a chittering “ki-ki-ki-ki” and soft “wit wit wit”.


    Forest, woodland and scrub, including well-wooded farmland and urban areas, open areas with... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly small birds, particularly passerines, including exotic sparrows (Passer) and starlings (Sturnus); also lizards,... read more


    Rather poorly studied, despite being widespread and fairly common. In C Australia, normally lays Sept–Oct, fledges young Nov–... read more


    Poorly understood; apparently some resident and other partly migratory populations, with some birds... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Uncommon, but widespread; secretive and probably under-recorded. Surely has declined in extensively cleared areas,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Debus, S. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 14 December 2019).