Sadly, this bird was found dead on a lawn by Etienne Marais, who has had a pair of Little Sparrowhawks Accipiter minullus breeding in his garden for many years. It is not clear whether this adult female was a member of the existing established pair or a new arrival. This dashing little raptor’s demise did give me the valuable opportunity of studying it in great detail. There are some things that are just impossible to see in the field, or even on great photographs, such as the pattern of the tail feathers, the markings on the scapulars and the shape of the claws. When I worked at the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History (old Transvaal Museum) we regularly received dead sparrowhawks as well. There are two interesting things I’ve learned while skinning small Accipiters. Firstly, they have extraordinarily long legs, although the very long tibia is obscured by feathers and often tucked partly up into the belly feathers. When the legs are stretched they are much longer than you would expect! Secondly, most of these small hawks have dense bright white downy feathers under their contour feathers, as well as white bases to the external feathers. One can sometimes see this when there is a breeze blowing and the bird turns its head against the wind.