Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Ciconiiformes / Accipitridae / Accipiter / Species
Accipiter gentilis - Northern goshawk (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)

INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Goshawk
  • Havik (Dutch)
  • Autour des palombes (French)
  • Habicht (German)
  • Astore (Italian)
  • Azor comn (Spanish)
  • Duvhk (Swedish)

Names for newly-hatched

Chick

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

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References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B162, B163, B164, B165, B166

Aviculture references:

ORGANISATIONS
(UK Contacts)

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

  • Birds of Prey

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

  • Birds of Prey

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Aviculture Information

Notes

 
Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 48-62cm (tail 18-22cm) (B162); 50-60cm (B165); 48-58cm / 19-23 ins. (B166)
  • Male: 49-56cm (B164)
  • Female: 58-64cm (B164)

Wingspan:

  • Male: 93-105cm (B164)
  • Female: 108-127cm (B164)
Adult weight General  
Male 600-1000g (B162)
Female 900-2000g (B162)
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Black, hooked; cere yellow (B162, B165, B166)
Variations (If present)  
Eyes Male Yellow (B162, B165, B166)
Variations(If present)  
Juvenile Bill Black, hooked; cere yellow (B162, B165, B166)
Eyes (Iris) Yellow (B162, B165, B166)

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Legs

Adult Male Yellow (B162, B165, B166)
Variations (If present)  
Juvenile Yellow (B162, B165, B166)

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Plumage

Adult Male
  • Upperparts: grey or bluish-grey with rump grey
  • Head: grey, with darker cap, dark ear coverts, pronounced supercilium or eyebrow (white line dorsal to eye) (B166)
  • Underparts: throat white, breast and abdomen white or straw coloured with fine grey barring.
  • Wings: short. Upper brownish-grey (B166); bluish grey (B164); under coverts white with grey barring, flight feathers white with grey barring and tips
  • Tail: long. upper grey with darker barring, under pale grey with darker barring; under tail-coverts white.

(B162, B164, B165, B166)

Variations (If present) Female: paler than male (B165); browner (B166); slate-grey (B164)

(B165, B166)

Clinal variation: larger paler forms in north and east, smaller darker birds in south and west.

  • Accipiter gentilis gentilis large, pale in Scandinavia Head darker, with supercilium reduced, underparts more heavily barred (and bars wider); moving west to east across Europe, upperparts change from dark grey or grey-brown to grey, underparts bars narrower, paler
  • Accipiter gentilis buteoides (northern Sweden through northern Russia) larger, paler, with less heavy ventral barring and more conspicuous white supercilium (eyebrow stripe)
  • Accipiter gentilis arrigonii (Corsica, Sardinia) smaller, darker, with head more black-brown, underparts more heavily barred

(B162)

Juvenile
  • Upperparts: much browner than adult, with pale feather edges.
  • Underparts: buffy-white or straw coloured with brownish streaking.
  • Wing: coverts buffy with darker streaking, flight feathers straw-coloured with darker barring and tips.
  • Tail: upper brown with darker barring, under buffy with darker barring

(B162, B165, B166)

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

Semi-altricial; helpless, downy, eyes open (B163, B166).

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year Eggs laid from early or mid April (B162); April to June (B166)
No. of Clutches One (B163, B166)

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Nest placement and structure

  • Solitary.
  • In tree: spruce preferred but pine, larch, oak, beech also used.
  • About 10-16m (B164) 10-20m (B162, B163) above ground.
  • Constructed from twigs and branches.
  • Bulky.
  • Some green vegetation lining, also sometimes bark and pine needles.
  • Same nest commonly re-used.
  • About 75-90cm diameter, 25cm high. May be 75 x 120cm and 55cm high when re-used.

(B162, B163, B164, B166)

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 2-3 (B163, B166); 3-4 (B162)
Range 1-5 (B163); 1-6 (B162)
Egg colour Oval, roughened, pale blue/bluish white or dirty white, no markings, 59mm long (B162, B163, B166)

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Incubation

35-42 days (B162)35-38 days (B162, B163); 36-41 days (B166)

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Hatching

Over a period of about 2-3 days (B163).

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Fledging

  • 45 days (B166).
  • Males: 35-36 days, Females: about 40-41 days (B163).

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Sexual Maturity

Males --
Females --

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults
  • Usually solitary for hunting but sometimes in pairs.
  • Seize prey on ground or in air after short (usually up to 500m) pursuit flight.

(B162, B163).

Newly-hatched Fed by parents (B163).

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building By both birds but more by the male (B163).
Incubation
  • By female (B166).
  • Sometimes also partly by male (B163).
Newly-hatched Fed by female, with male bringing food (B163).
Juveniles

Fed by parents for about a month after fledging (B163).

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific
  • Solitary.
  • Extensive hunting ranges outside breeding season may overlap

(B162, B166)

Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

  • Monogamous seasonal pair bond.
  • Display flight include high circling with vertical plunges, and slow flapping.

(B162, B163)

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Predation in Wild

--

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Activity Patterns

  • Much of time inconspicuous in cover (B162).
  • Perches in open.
  • Takes off from ground as well as from vegetation.
  • Soars, glides, dives.

(B166)

Circadian --

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Natural Diet

Adults

  • Birds (grouse, partridges, pheasants, pigeons, crows, thrushes) - to size of capercaillie or pheasant.
  • Mammals (e.g. rabbit, red squirrel)- to size of hare.

(B162, B163, B164, B166)

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Newly-hatched

--

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal Europe and northern Asia (from Britain to Pacific) including Japan, North America (B163).
  • Britain: patchy distribution, total about 150-230 pairs (B166); 250-300 pairs (B164).

(B164, B165, B166)

Migration:

  • Mainly resident
  • Arctic populations may move south

(B163)

Occasional and Accidental Ireland, Balearic Islands, Kuwait, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria (B162)
Introduced

 

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Habitat

  • Extensive forests/woodland for breeding.
  • Also hunts over open country - fields, hedgerows

(B164, B165, B166)

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

Clinal variation: larger paler forms in north and east, smaller darker birds in south and west.
  • Accipiter gentilis gentilis large, pale in Scandinavia Head darker, with supercilium reduced, underparts more heavily barred (and bars wider); moving west to east across Europe, upperparts change from dark grey or grey-brown to grey, underparts bars narrower, paler
  • Accipiter gentilis buteoides (northern Sweden through northern Russia) larger, paler, with less heavy ventral barring and more conspicuous white supercilium (eyebrow stripe)
  • Accipiter gentilis arrigonii (Corsica, Sardinia) smaller, darker, with head more black-brown, underparts more heavily barred

(B162)

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Now slowly increasing in Britain (B163).

General Legislation
  • This species is listed on Schedule 1 - Part I (Birds protected by special penalties: Notes on the revised schedules state "Birds protected by special penalties at all times") of the LUK2 - Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 of the United Kingdom. (W5.Oct01)
  • This species is listed on Schedule 4 (Birds which must be registered and ringed if kept in captivity: Notes on the revised schedules state "Any bird, one of whose parents or other lineal ancestor was a bird of a kind specified in the above list") of the LUK2 - Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 of the United Kingdom. (W5.Oct01)
CITES listing Listing not yet included.
Red-data book listing Listing not yet included.
Threats
  • Persecution.
  • Pesticide and heavy metal pollution.

(B163)

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Captive Populations

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Trade

--

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