DIS­PLAY FLIGHTS

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild March -

These stealthy hunters usu­ally keep a low pro­file, stick­ing close to cover as they stalk their feathered prey. But in early spring spar­rowhawks en­gage in aerial ac­ro­bat­ics above newly se­lected nest­ing ter­ri­to­ries. To as­sert their claim to the area, birds soar and wheel over­head on out­stretched wings, then swoop and climb again be­fore end­ing the show with a spec­tac­u­larly steep dive. These roller­coaster dis­plays are per­formed by both sexes, but be­ing 25 per cent larger than the males, fe­males are more vis­i­ble, and are of­ten mis­taken by ea­ger bird­ers for goshawks.

TOP TIP Spot dis­play­ing rap­tors by scan­ning the skies above wood­land on still, sunny af­ter­noons.

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