The animal on the cover of Raspberry Pi Cookbook is the Eurasian sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), which also goes by the names northern sparrowhawk or simply sparrowhawk. This small bird of prey is found throughout the Old World. Adult males have bluish-gray upper plumage and orange-barred underparts; females and younger birds are all brown with brown-barred underparts. The female is up to 25% larger than the male.

The sparrowhawk specializes in preying on woodland birds, but can be found in any habitat hunting garden birds in towns or cities. Males favor hunting smaller birds—tits, finches, and sparrows; females tend to catch thrushes and starlings, and are capable of killing birds weighing up to 18 ounces (500 grams) or more.

Eurasian sparrowhawks breed in nests that can measure up to 60 cm (2 feet) across, built with twigs. Afterward, four or five pale blue, brown-spotted eggs are laid. Success of breeding relies on females maintaining a high weight; the male delivers food to its mate. After 33 days, the chicks hatch, and they fledge after 24 to 28 days.

A juvenile sparrowhawk has a 34% chance of surviving its first year. After that, its chance of survival more than doubles, with 69% of adults surviving from one year to the next. The typical lifespan of these birds is four years. Mortality is greater for young males than for young females. Despite a sharp population decline after WWII, the sparrowhawk is the most common bird of prey in Europe. The use of organochlorine ...

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