Nicobar sparrowhawk

   ›      ›   Nicobar sparrowhawk - Accipiter butleri.

The Nicobar sparrowhawk (Accipiter butleri) belongs to the family Accipitridae. These Nicobar sparrowhawk species are endemic to the Nicobar Islands of India.

Taxonomy of Nicobar sparrowhawk

  • Scientific Name: Accipiter butleri
  • Common Name: Nicobar sparrowhawk
  • French: Épervier des Nicobar; German: Nikobarensperber; Spanish: Gavilán de Nicobar;
  • Other names: Astur butleri Gurney, Jr, 1898;
  • Family: Accipitridae › Accipitriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: Gmelin, 1788
Accipiter butleri was earlier included in the genus Astur. It is closely related to A. badius, A. brevipes, A. soloensis and A. francesiae. The two recognized subspecies are: A. b. butleri (Gurney, Jr, 1898) and A. b. obsoletus (Richmond, 1902).


The Nicobar sparrowhawk is a small bird of prey, measuring 30 to 35 cms. The wingspan is 50 to 60 cm. It has short pointed wings and thick bill. Adult males have pale grey upper parts. The primaries are dark. There is a dark sub-terminal band on the tail. The breast is rusty and the flanks are barred. The underparts are pale white. The females are brown with bands on the upper tail. Their call is a shrill, double "kee-wick" sound.


These sparrowhawk species inhabit the subtropical or tropical forests.

Feeding habits

The Nicobar sparrowhawk is recorded to feed on lizards and insects.


There is very little information available about the breeding habits of these sparrowhawk species.


The subspecies A. b. butleri is distributed in Car Nicobar in the north of the archipelago. The subspecies A. b. obsoletus is distributed in Katchal and Camorta in the central Nicobar Islands.

Movement Patterns

These bird species are endemic to these Indian islands and are sedentary.

Status and conservation

The Nicobar sparrowhawk is considered vulnerable, taking into account, its small population and narrow range. Its total population may be around 3,700 to 7,500 individual birds. The degradation and loss of forest habitat due to human activities is the major threat to the survival of these species.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these sparrowhawk species and has listed them as "Vulnerable".

Biological classification of Accipiter butleri
Species:A. butleri
Binomial name:Accipiter butleri
Distribution: Nicobar Islands of India;
Feeding habits:lizards, insects;
IUCN status listing:

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