Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)


Nicobar Sparrowhawk (Accipiter butleri)


French: Épervier des Nicobar German: Nikobarensperber Spanish: Gavilán de Nicobar

Astur butleri

Gurney, Jr

, 1898,

Car Nicobar


Traditionally combined in a species-group with A. badius and A. brevipes, and often also A. soloensis and A. francesiae (see A. badius). Sometimes considered a race of A. badius, but quite different in plumage (especially that of juvenile), in structure (short-winged) and in habitat choice (upper storeys of forest). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. b. butleri (Gurney, Jr, 1898) – Car Nicobar I (N Nicobar Is); possibly extinct.
  • A. b. obsoletus (Richmond, 1902) – Katchall I and possibly Camorta I (C Nicobar Is); individuals recently recorded on Nancowry probably of this race#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    28–34 cm; wingspan 50–57 cm. A small, shy, vocal sparrowhawk with short pointed wings, mid-length tail and rather heavy bill. Differs from larger, darker A.... read more


    Gives a shrill, double "kee-wick", which is reportedly much like that of A.... read more


    Upper storeys of primary forest, and not recorded in open or in scrub-jungle; found mostly below... read more

    Food and feeding

    Apparently mainly lizards; some insects also recorded. Hunting behaviour unreported.


    Reproductive activity recorded in Feb and Sept; claim that species breeds twice annually (based on record of juveniles in Sept) seems... read more


    Apparently sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    VULNERABLE. Evidently rare; thought to have small population suspected to be in decline. Confined to Nicobar Is, where reeported only from Teressa, Bompoka, Tillanchong,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clark, W.S., Kirwan, G.M. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Nicobar Sparrowhawk (Accipiter butleri). 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).