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Birding Málaga


Common name Eurasian sparrowhawk
Scientific name Accipiter nisus
Type Forest birds
Status Resident

Small bird of prey (about 37 cm or 14.5 in) with an also small wingspan (about 77 cm or 30.5 in). Males with intense greyish upperparts and head, pale underparts with transverse barring and reddish tones in the cheeks and flanks. Larger females with greyish brown tones on the back and head; white underparts and transversely barred. Both sexes with a very marked white eyebrow. Short, rounded wings and a very long tail.


Woodland environment

Where it lives

Woodland species that can be present both in pine forests and in masses of oak groves or meadows. In winter, it also frequents more open areas and even farmlands.

How it lives

Species resident all year round in the province. It breeds from May. Nest in trees. One annual laying of 3 to 7 eggs. Specialist in the capture and consumption of small forest birds, such as Great and Eurasian blue tits or goldcrests. Females can catch larger prey, such as thrushes, blackbirds or pigeons.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Frequent bird in the province and that can be observed in the majority of mountains and forests of Malaga. For example, in the mountains of Alcaparaín, Ortegícar, Aguas or in the Montes de Málaga. In the Great Path it is present in stages 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 20, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31 and 33.

Curious facts

The Eurasian Sparrowhawk is a species adapted to hunt very small prey among trees. Its short and rounded wings and its long tail help it maneuver between the branches and the thickets at high speed and with acceleration capacity. The Spanish word for this bird, “gavilán”, seems to derive from the gothic "gabila" or "gabala", name with which the pitchforks of the peasants were known in the Middle Ages, similar to the claws of the sparrowhawk. The Latin term “nisus” refers to the "esparaván", synonymous with the sparrowhawk in Greek mythology. King Nisos was transformed into this bird after a mishap with his daughter and a suitor.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration