Body length: 30-40 cm
Wingspan: 60-80 cm
Body mass: males c. 150 g, females 250-300 g
Male: steel-grey back, breast with broad barring of orange-red colour, also orange cheeks and eyes.
Female: slate-grey back, breast with broad barring of grey colour, yellow eyes.
Juveniles: dark-brown back, thick, dark barring on breast, yellow eyes.
Poland’s second-commonest bird of prey (after buzzard). Broad wings and long narrow tail visible in flight. Shows particular fondness for dense young forests, copses in farmed areas and edges of larger forest complexes. Eats birds, with smaller males taking tits, sparrows, etc., larger females thrushes, pigeons and even partridges. Regularly predates birds at feeders, also flying fast to encourage panic resulting in collisions of tits, goldfinches, etc. with windows. Polish sparrowhawks winter in southern and Western Europe, their place here taken by individuals from further to the east and north.
Looks like a small version of a goshawk.
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.