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A photo of a Levant Sparrowhawk (Accipiter brevipes)
Levant Sparrowhawk

Levant Sparrowhawk

Accipiter brevipes

The Levant sparrowhawk, a diminutive yet dexterous bird of prey, presents a striking figure in the avian world. Males span 32–38 cm in length and boast a wingspan of 65–75 cm, cloaked in a blue-grey plumage above with dark wingtips, and exhibit a barred reddish pattern below. Females, slightly larger in stature, wear a slate-grey coat with a similar barred pattern in reddish brown on their underparts, and may display a dark throat line. The juveniles, dressed in dark brown above with streaked underparts, also share this throat line feature.

Identification Tips

To distinguish the Levant sparrowhawk, observe its short broad wings and elongated tail, both adaptations for agile navigation through arboreal habitats. The adult male's blue-grey upperparts and finely barred rufous and white underparts, along with a white throat marked by a central dark stripe, are key identifiers. The female's darker grey-brown plumage and the juvenile's brown upperparts with streaked underparts are also noteworthy. Both sexes possess orangish-yellow legs and a yellow cere, adding to their distinctive appearance.


This species selects forested environments for its home, ranging from the lush woods of Greece and the Balkans to the southern expanses of Russia.


As a migratory species, the Levant sparrowhawk enjoys summer breeding grounds from Greece to southern Russia and embarks on winter sojourns stretching from Egypt to southwestern Iran. During migration, it is known to travel in large flocks, a behavior not commonly seen in its relative, the Eurasian sparrowhawk.


The Levant sparrowhawk is a solitary nester, preferring the seclusion of trees to construct its annual home. It is a proficient hunter, employing the element of surprise to capture small birds, insects, rodents, and lizards within woodland or semi-desert locales.

Song & calls

The vocal repertoire of this hawk is succinct, characterized by a sharp "kee-wick" call that pierces the air.


Breeding season sees the Levant sparrowhawk crafting a new nest each year, lined with fresh green leaves. Clutches typically consist of 3–5 eggs, with the female assuming the role of incubation. The young, once hatched, will fledge after 40–45 days and gain independence shortly thereafter.

Similar Species

The Levant sparrowhawk bears resemblance to the Eurasian sparrowhawk but can be differentiated by its shorter tail and more pointed wings, which lend it a more falcon-like silhouette.

Diet and Feeding

This raptor's diet is composed of small birds, insects, rodents, and lizards, which it hunts with stealth from a perch, often in woodland or semi-desert areas.

Conservation status

The Levant sparrowhawk is currently classified as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN, thanks to its extensive range and stable population. However, the advent of wind farm development poses a potential threat to its numbers.

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