The black sparrowhawk is one of the world’s largest Accipiters, only the Henst’s, Meyer’s and the northern goshawk can match or exceed its size. As is common in the genus Accipiter, male black sparrowhawks are smaller than females.
Black sparrowhawks are relatively widespread and common in sub-Saharan Africa and listed as not globally threatened by CITES. Densities range from one pair per 13 square kilometers in Kenya to one pair per 38-150 square kilometers in South Africa. On the Cape Peninsula, however, in the south-western corner of South Africa, the nests are typically only 500 m (550 yds) apart in the pine plantations and other continuous or semi-continuous belts of trees. It occurs mainly in forests and non-desert areas south of the Sahara, particularly where there are large trees suitable for nesting, its favored habitat.
This bird, especially when breeding, is aggressive towards humans and monkeys.