- any of certain Eurasian hawks; esp., a small hawk (Accipiter nisus) with short, rounded wings
- ☆ American kestrel
Origin of sparrow hawkMiddle English sparowhawke: so named from preying on sparrows
- See kestrel.
- or spar·row·hawk Any of several small hawks that have short, broad wings and prey on sparrows and other small birds, especially the Eurasian sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) of Europe, Asia, and northern Africa.
(plural sparrow hawks)
From Middle English sparhauk, sperhauk, from Old English spearhafoc, spearhabuc (“sparrow-hawk”), equivalent to sparrow + hawk. Cognate with Danish spurvehøg (“sparrowhawk”), Swedish sparvhök (“sparrowhawk”), Icelandic sparrhaukur (“sparrowhawk”).