Body length: 50-60 cm
Wingspan: 100-120 cm
Body mass: males 600-800 g, females 900-1300 g
adults: steel-grey back, barred grey breast, yellow eyes.
Juveniles: dark-brown back, breast with dark streaking.
Not-very-abundant bird of prey. Broad wings and rounded tail-end visible in flight. Nests located high in trees, lined with foliage. Main prey species include pigeons and pheasants, hence vulnerability to traps set by rearers of these birds. Even rarer in 1970s, due to mass persecution and side-effects of pesticides (including DDT), which were ”biomagnified” up the food chain and incorporated into bodies of birds of prey, also causing fatal thinning of shells of incubated eggs, which parent-birds thus crushed during incubation. Infrequency of successful rearing of young caused sharp population decline at that time.
Resembles sparrowhawk, though larger.
Descriptions drawing on content of Ptaki Polski (“Birds of Poland”) - a book authored by Andrzej G. Kruszewicz, and published by MULTICO Oficyna Wydawnicza Sp. z o.o.