Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Frances's Sparrowhawk (Accipiter francesiae)


French: Épervier de Frances German: Echsenhabicht Spanish: Gavilán de Frances
Other common names: Frances's Goshawk

Accipiter Francesii

A. Smith

, 1834,



Closely related to A. soloensis (which see). The three forms in Comoro Is have been considered to constitute a separate species, on grounds mainly of much smaller size. Original spelling of specific name must be emended, as internal evidence indicates female dedicatee#R. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. f. griveaudi Benson, 1960 – Ngazidja (Grand Comoro), W Comoro Is.
  • A. f. pusillus (Gurney, Sr, 1875) – Ndzuani (Anjouan), C Comoro Is.
  • A. f. brutus (Schlegel, 1865) – Maore (Mayotte), E Comoro Is.
  • A. f. francesiae A. Smith, 1834 – Madagascar.
  • Descriptive notes

    28–35 cm; male 104–140 g, female 112–185 g; wingspan 40–54 cm. On Madagascar, separation from region’s other small Accipiter,... read more


    Very vocal, especially during breeding season. Loud, piercing, medium- to high-pitched “kee kee kee... read more


    All types of primary and secondary forest, and commercial plantations (e.g. Eucalyptus,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly large insects, such as cicadas, dragonflies, mantises, wasps, grasshoppers, locusts or beetles (Carabidae, Scarabaeidae); also... read more


    Laying in Sept–Dec (mainly Oct–Nov) in Madagascar and on Mayotte, but territorial calling and display can commence Aug and nest... read more


    None recorded. The distinct races on separate islands of the Comoro Is suggest a sedentary species.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. The commonest of the three members of its genus in Madagascar, but rather uncommon in arid S. Perhaps commonest in NE... read more

    Recommended citation

    Kemp, A.C., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Frances's Sparrowhawk (Accipiter francesiae). 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 24 February 2020).