Sunday, 3 February 2013

Sparrowhawk aerobatic displays

Since the start of the year, specially on sunny days, I have had the chance of watching Sparrowhawks displaying. Surprisingly, it is the larger female who takes the lead in these open air flight manoeuvres. They fly high over their territory, flapping their wings in a slow, deliberate way as they climb up, only to dive down, stooping with wings folded back, and repeating the procedure again. Their partner can follow them in their flight path, but often only one individual is visible. This way they advertise ownership of their nesting territory in preparation for the breeding season, although aerial displays are also part of courtship.
This flying in the open behaviour is much unlike the skulking, darting hunting flights of this species, which often just offer a glimpse of the bird. It is when they are displaying that Sparrowhawks - being more visible - are likely to be spotted by Carrion Crows (below) and seagulls and have then to endure being mobbed.

1 comment:

  1. Whenever I see Red Kites and Buzzards being mobbed by Crows, I think how audacious they are.

    I'd love to see the display flights though.