Chinese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter soloensis) on Siargao island, Philippines.

A Migratory Chinese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter soloensis) in our Backyard

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The Chinese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter soloensis) is a migratory winter visitor to the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia. While it breeds in China, the Korean peninsula, and Siberia this accipiter can be found around the Philippine archipelago from August to May. This one has been hanging around our Siargao yard hunting frogs all week!

 

 

Chinese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter soloensis) on Siargao island, Philippines.
Accipiters are medium-sized forest-inhabiting hawks  This particular accipiter is alternately known as the Chinese Goshawk.

 

Chinese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter soloensis) on Siargao island, Philippines.
Chinese Name: 赤腹鹰

One diagnostic feature of this raptor is its bright yellow cere. The cere is a waxy, fleshy covering at the base of the upper beak.

Chinese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter soloensis) on Siargao island, Philippines.
This Chinese Sparrowhawk is a juvenile. Adults grow to 30-36 cm. Sexually dimorphic, the female is larger than the male.

Chinese Goshawk (Accipiter soloensis) on Siargao island, Philippines.

 

 

The preferred habitat of this bird is wooded areas, forest, and forest edges. It can also be found around coconut plantations.

Chinese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter soloensis) on Siargao island, Philippines.
The tail of the Chinese Sparrowhawk is fairly long and has five bars which can be clearly seen in this photo.

 

Chinese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter soloensis) on Siargao island, Philippines.
Juvenile and female Chinese Sparrowhawks have bright yellow eyes; the male of this species has reddish eyes. The individual in this photo is a juvenile.

 

Chinese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter soloensis) on Siargao island, Philippines.
Yet another name for this accipiter is the Grey Frog Hawk due to its plumage coloration and favorite meal.

Frogs are the main prey of the Chinese Sparrow hawk. It also will fly out from its perch to catch grasshoppers, dragonflies and beetles. This raptor has also been observed feeding on lizards.

With the onset of the rainy season and darker days, the frogs which are usually only active at night have been seen lately in the daytime. We’ve written before about the Golden Tree Frog (Polypedates lecomystax). This one was jumping (up to 1.5 meters) around the yard this morning. I imagine the local abundance of frogs is one reason we’ve seen the Chinese Sparrowhawk around our property all week!

Golden Tree Frog
Frogs are the favored prey of the Chinese Sparrowhawk.

Chinese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter soloensis) on Siargao island, Philippines.


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