The New Britain Sparrowhawk
) is a threatened species
Threatened species are any speciesg animals, plants, fungi, etc.) which are vulnerable to endangerment in the near future.The World Conservation Union is the foremost authority on threatened species, and treats threatened species not as a single category, but as a group of three categories,...
of bird of prey
Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh....
. It is endemic to two Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...
islands, New Britain
New Britain, or Niu Briten, is the largest island in the Bismarck Archipelago of Papua New Guinea. It is separated from the island of New Guinea by the Dampier and Vitiaz Straits and from New Ireland by St. George's Channel...
and New Ireland
New Ireland is a large island in Papua New Guinea, approximately 7,404 km² in area. It is the largest island of the New Ireland Province, lying northeast of the island of New Britain. Both islands are part of the Bismarck Archipelago, named after Otto von Bismarck, and they are separated by...
. Even in 1934 Ernst Mayr
Ernst Walter Mayr was one of the 20th century's leading evolutionary biologists. He was also a renowned taxonomist, tropical explorer, ornithologist, historian of science, and naturalist...
, in his survey of mountain bird life during the Whitney South Sea Expedition, found the New Britain Sparrowhawk to be very rare. .
These sparrowhawks are grey with a white underbelly and orange accents on the neck. They are often characterized by their large feet. They are the only hawk in New Britain or the Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of . The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal...
that has a middle toe that is longer than the rest. The feet of the New Britain Sparrowhawks are pale yellow. These small birds only grow to be 27–34 cm long.
This species lives in tropical to subtropical, moist montane forest. The altitudes reach 1,200 to 1,800 m. New Britain Sparrowhawks nest like other birds, where they raise their young. Very little is known about this species because it is so rare and the areas in which it lives have not been thoroughly studied http://www.iucnredlist.org/search/details.php/91/all
it is estimated that the population is only between 1,000 and 2,499 individuals http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/search/species_search.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=3451&m=0
. The main threat to the continued existence of this species is habitat destruction which has led to the birds' decline in lowland forests. The clearing of forest on the small islands leaves the species with less habitat, and a far less safe environment – leading to their vulnerability. No conservation measures are known to have been taken; however it has been proposed that surveys be made to assess population size and observe nests, as well as to map the remaining forest. There are also plans to lobby for large community-based conservation areas http://www.iucnredlist.org/search/details.php/91/all