Breeding behaviour

A food pass between male and female.  Photo Ian Todd

Breeding behaviour

  • Mating:
    Males and females form pairs a few months before they lay their eggs. You may see them displaying by flying in circles above their territories. The pair stays together for the breeding season, but then often go their separate ways once the chicks have left the nest and are fully independent. They will mate with the same partner from the previous year or find a new partner in the following breeding season and will often use the same territory from the previous year.
  • Territories: Each pair of Sparrowhawks has their own territory. They protect this territory from other Sparrowhawks. The distance between two nests is usually between half a kilometre to two kilometres. However this distance depends on how much food is available to the Sparrowhawks. If there is plenty of food in an area each pair needs a smaller a hunting area so the distance between nests will be smaller.