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Madagascar Sparrowhawk Accipiter madagascariensis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is suspected to be experiencing a moderately rapid population reduction owing to habitat loss and degradation and is consequently classified as Near Threatened. If the decline is shown to be more rapid, or the total population smaller, the species might qualify for a higher threat category.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

A medium-sized forest accipiter. Dark brown-grey above, rather bluer in the male, with pale underparts finely but densely barred blackish, except the throat which is finely streaked blackish. Undertail-coverts are white. Young birds are brown on the back, with vertical streaking and dots on the pale underparts. Legs and feet are conspicuously long, especially the toes. Males are much smaller than females. Similar spp. Distinguished from female and immature Frances's Sparrowhawk A. francesii by having a finely-streaked throat; rather than a single vertical throat-stripe, and being overall darker with longer toes. Juveniles are very similar to juvenile Henst's Goshawk A. henstii except for being much smaller with longer toes. Hints Rather scarce, and apparently lacks a loud call, so difficult to detect. Often found in forest understorey, where it appears to be a bird-specialist.

Distribution and population
Accipiter madagascariensis is found uncommonly in primary forest throughout Madagascar (Langrand 1990). The species is little-known, widely misidentified, and dependent on habitat that is declining in many parts of Madagascar (Du Puy and Moat 1996).

Population justification
The population is estimated at 10,000-100,000 individuals.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be declining moderately rapidly owing to the ongoing clearance and degradation of the species's forest habitats.

It occurs in rainforest in the east, deciduous forest in the west and also spiny forest in the south-west, at altitudes of up to 1,500 m (Langrand 1990), and is only rarely recorded in degraded areas (Morris and Hawkins 1998). It feeds largely on small birds, as well as frogs, toads and reptiles (Langrand 1990; Morris and Hawkins 1998). Egg-laying takes place in November, with a clutch of three eggs observed (del Hoyo et al. 1994). The nest is constructed from sticks, situated high in a forest tree (del Hoyo et al. 1994).

Primary forest habitats in Madagascar are already seriously damaged, and habitat degradation is ongoing (del Hoyo et al. 1994).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to establish estimates of its population size and range. Study the species's ecology. Monitor rates of forest clearance and degradation across its range. Secure habitat through protected area status.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1994. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Du Puy, D. J.; Moat, J. 1996. A refined classification of the primary vegetation of Madagascar based on the underlying geology: using GIS to map its distribution and to assess its conservation status. In: Lourenço, W.R. (ed.), Proceedings of the International Symposium on the biogeography of Madagascar, pp. 205-218. ORSTOM, Paris.

Langrand, O. 1990. Guide to the birds of Madagascar. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Morris, P.; Hawkins, F. 1998. Birds of Madagascar: a photographic guide. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, UK.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Evans, M., O'Brien, A., Robertson, P., Starkey, M., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Accipiter madagascariensis. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Madagascar sparrowhawk (Accipiter madagascariensis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles)
Species name author Smith, 1834
Population size 6700-67000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 491,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species