Madagascar Sparrowhawk Accipiter madagascariensis


Justification of Red List Category
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 more clearly shown, or the total population smaller, the species might qualify for a higher threat category.

Population justification
The population is estimated at 5,000-10,000 individuals (R. Thorstrom in litt. 2016), roughly equivalent to 3,300-6,700 mature 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.

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).


It occurs in rainforest in the east, deciduous forest in the west and also spiny forest in the south-west of Madagascar, at altitudes of up to 1,500 m (Langrand 1990). It is only rarely recorded in degraded areas (Morris and Hawkins 1998). In the north-west, it has been reported at a tsingy rocky outcrop and at a beach near dry deciduous forest and grassland (Harding 2013). It feeds largely on small birds, as well as on 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

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II.

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


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.


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

Thorstrom, R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Accipiter madagascariensis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/01/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/01/2021.