Accipiter madagascariensis 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae

Scientific Name: Accipiter madagascariensis
Species Authority: Smith, 1834
Common Name(s):
English Madagascar Sparrowhawk
French Épervier de Madagascar, Epervier de Madagascar
Spanish Gavilán Malgache
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
Identification information: 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.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Taylor, J.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Evans, M., O'Brien, A., Robertson, P., Starkey, M., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.
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 shown to be more rapid, or the total population smaller, the species might qualify for a higher threat category.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Near Threatened (NT)
2004 Near Threatened (NT)
2000 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1994 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1988 Near Threatened (NT)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: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).

Countries occurrence:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:491000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):1500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population is estimated at 10,000-100,000 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.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:6700-67000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation:100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It occurs in rainforest in the east, deciduous forest in the west and also spiny forest in the south-west, at altitudes of up to 1,500 m (Langrand 1990), and is only rarely recorded in degraded areas (Morris and Hawkins 1998). It feeds largely on small birds, as well as 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).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):7.2
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Primary forest habitats in Madagascar are already seriously damaged, and habitat degradation is ongoing (del Hoyo et al. 1994).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II.

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

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:No
2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
suitability: Marginal season: resident 
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:No
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Invasive species control or prevention:No
In-Place Species Management
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Minority (<50%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1994. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Du Puy, D. J.; Moat, J. 1996. A refined classification of the primary vegetation of Madagascar based on the underlying geology: using GIS to map its distribution and to assess its conservation status. In: Lourenço, W.R. (ed.), Proceedings of the International Symposium on the biogeography of Madagascar, pp. 205-218. ORSTOM, Paris.

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.1). Available at: (Accessed: 19 June 2012).

Langrand, O. 1990. Guide to the birds of Madagascar. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Morris, P.; Hawkins, F. 1998. Birds of Madagascar: a photographic guide. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, UK.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Accipiter madagascariensis. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22695613A37900004. . Downloaded on 02 December 2015.
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