Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Ovambo Sparrowhawk (Accipiter ovampensis)


French: Épervier des Ovampos German: Ovambosperber Spanish: Gavilán del Ovampo
Other common names: Ovampo Sparrowhawk

Accipiter ovampensis

Gurney, Sr

, 1875,

Okavango River, Ovamboland, Namibia


Recent phylogenetic analyses indicated that present species and A. madagascariensis (which see) form a well-supported clade#R. Monotypic.


Senegambia and Sierra Leone E to Central African Republic and locally to Ethiopia, and from Uganda and Kenya S to Angola, N Namibia, Botswana and N South Africa; in N of range mainly non-breeding visitor or a wanderer.

Descriptive notes

30–40 cm; male 105–190 g, female 180–305 g; wingspan 60–75 cm . Small to mid-sized Accipiter, with small pointed head and relatively long... read more


Silent except when nesting; main contact and territorial call is a repeated "keep keep keep... read more


Edges of drier forest, woodland and exotic plantations, moving into surrounding savanna and... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly small birds of 10–60 g, although female takes doves of up to 250 g and, cuckoos, nightjars, bee-eaters, woodpeckers and... read more


Laying May, Sept in Kenya; Aug–Dec (mainly Sep–Oct) in S Africa; nest-building Mar in Cameroon. Mainly the female builds (over... read more


Resident in at least parts of S Africa (though numbers said to decrease during austral winter in... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Widespread and locally common in S and C African woodlands and plantations; considered to be particularly common in Gauteng... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Ovambo Sparrowhawk (Accipiter ovampensis). 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).