Goshawk

Goshawk

Accipiter gentils

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Accipitriformes
Family Accipitridae
Genus Accipiter
Species A. gentils
Lifespan up to 6 years
Size 40 to 47 inch wingspan; weight 1.5 to 3.25 pounds
Eggs Laid 3 to 4 eggs
Flight Speed 30 to 40 mph
Status Somewhat Common
Northern Goshawk

About Goshawks

What do Northern Goshawks look like?

Northern Goshawks are the largest North American accipiter. They are long-tailed, short-winged birds, about 19 to 27 inches long with a 40- to 47-inch wingspan, weighing between 1.5 to 3.25 pounds. Females are larger than males. Adult Goshawks are slate gray with a black crown, blue-gray back, with white underparts mottled with gray. There is a distinct white line over each orange-red eye. Immature birds closely resemble adults, but are brown on their backs with white underparts heavily streaked with brown.

Where are Northern Goshawks found?

These birds prefer mixed hardwoods and conifers in the northern forest. They don’t normally migrate and tend to overwinter in their summer breeding range. Those Goshawks that do migrate are in the northern limits of their range and move due to a lack of food in the wintertime.

What do Northern Goshawks eat?

Goshawk prey includes snowshoe hare, rabbit, gray and red squirrels, chipmunks, weasels, ducks, grouse, quail, pheasants, crows, small hawks, owls, woodpeckers, blackbirds, blue jays, grasshoppers, and moth and beetle larvae. Predators include larger hawks, Great Horned Owls, and humans.

What special adaptations do Northern Goshawks have?

This diurnal raptor has excellent eyesight that it uses to hunt, but its hearing and smell are not as well-developed. It flies with rapid, steady wing beats alternated with glides. It can dart in and around branches, using its long tail and rounded wings to turn sharply and dodge obstacles. Goshawks can drop suddenly on their prey and kill it on the ground or in pursuit in the air. It may fly as fast as 30 to 40 mph.

How do Northern Goshawks raise their young?

Goshawks nest on the branches of birch, maple, beech, juniper, pine, or spruce trees next to the trunk from April to June. The nest is constructed by both the male and female and is made of sticks and twigs lined with bark or fresh conifer twigs. Nests are 20 to 60 feet above the ground and 3 to 5 feet across and 2 to 3 feet deep. Three or four blue, white eggs are incubated by the female for 35 to 38 days. The female broods the young for 8 to 10 days. By 35 to 41 days the young dare to go out of the nest to nearby branches and start to fly around 45 days after hatching. Goshawks may live to be about 6 years old in the wild and longer in captivity.


Fun Facts!

  • Northern Goshawks are the largest North American accipiter.
  • Predators include larger hawks, Great Horned Owls, and humans
  • Goshawks can drop suddenly on their prey and kill it on the ground or in pursuit in the air. It may fly as fast as 30 to 40 mph. It can dart in and around branches, using its long tail and rounded wings to turn sharply and dodge obstacles.

Mammals

Black Bear
Black Bear
Bobcat
Bobcat
Coyote
Coyote
Fisher
Fisher
Gray Fox
Gray Fox
Mountain Lion
Mountain Lion
Red Fox
Red Fox
River Otter
River Otter
White-footed Mouse
White-footed Mouse
White-tailed Deer
White-tailed Deer

Birds

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle
Barred Owl
Barred Owl
Broad-winged Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Goshawk
Goshawk
Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture

Reptiles and Amphibians

Painted Turtle
Painted Turtle

Fish

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