See list of all accipeters - Hawks
The Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis
; from OE. góshafoc
'goose-hawk') is a medium-large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae
which also includes other diurnal raptors, such as eagles, buzzards
It is a widespread species that inhabits the temperate parts of
the northern hemisphere. In North America, it is called the
Northern Goshawk. It is mainly resident, but birds from colder regions
of north Asia and Canada migrate
south for the winter.
This species was first described by Linn#linneaeus
in his Systema naturae in 1758 under its current scientific name.
The Goshawk is the largest member of the genus Accipiter
. It is a raptor with short broad wings and a long tail,
both adaptations to manoeuvring through trees in the forests it
lives and nests in.
The male is blue-grey above and barred grey below, 49-57 cm long
with a 93-105 cm wingspan.
The much larger female is 58-64 cm long with a 108-127 cm wingspan,
slate grey above grey below.
Males of the smaller races can weigh as little as 630 grams, whereas
females of the larger races can weigh as much as 2 kg.
The juvenile is brown above and barred brown below. The flight is
a characteristic "five slow flaps straight glide".
In Eurasia, the male is sometimes confused with a female Sparrowhawk,
but is larger, bulkier and has relatively longer wings.
This species hunts birds and mammals in woodland, relying on its
speed of flight through the dense forest as it flies from a
perch or hedge-hops to catch its prey unaware. These are usually
opportunistic predators, as are most raptors,
but the most important prey species are birds, especially the ruffed
grouse, columbiformes, and passerines (pigeons and starlings). Other
waterfowl, up to the size of mallard duck, are sometimes preyed
on. Prey is often smaller than the hunting hawk.
See list of all accipeters
- Hawks here.
other birds - click here
In the spring breeding season, the Goshawk has a spectacular roller
coaster display, and this is the best time to see this
secretive forest bird. At this time, the surprisingly gull-like
call of this bird is sometimes heard.
Adults return to their nesting territories by March or April and
begin laying eggs in April or May.
These territories almost include tracts of large, mature trees that
the parent will nest in.
The clutch size is usually 2 to 4, but anywhere from 1 to 5 eggs.
The eggs average 59 x 45 mm and weigh about 60 g ).
The incubation period can range from 28 to 38 days. The young leave
the nest after about 35 days and start trying to fly
another 10 days later. The young may remain in their parents territory
for up to a year of age.