Accipiter gentilis
(Northern Goshawk)


Order: Falconiformes
Order Description: Vultures, Osprey, Hawks, Falcons
Family: Accipitridae
Family Description: Osprey, Hawks and Eagles

Physical Description:
20-26" (50-66 cm). Gray all over; lighter below with fine black streaks on breast. White tips on longish tail; lighter eyebrows. Red eyes and yellow-orange feet. Immatures brown above, paler below with heavy brown streaks; yellow eyes and feet; tail has wavy blackish and gray bands. Juveniles have a white eyeline.

Similar Species- Cooper's, and Sharp-shinned hawks, Gyrfalcon

Song:
Seagull-like kak-kak-kak-kak.

Distribution:
Breeds from western and central Alaska, east to northeastern Manitoba, Labrador, and Newfoundland, and south to central California, southeastern Arizona, eastern foothills of Rockies, southern Manitoba, New England, and Appalachians; breeds locally in Mexico. Winters throughout breeding range and irregularly south to northern Mexico.

Habitat:
Found in deciduousClick word for definition and coniferousClick word for definition forests, along forest edges, and in open woodlands. Will forage in cultivated regions. Migrates mostly along ridges and coastlines. In Idaho, summers and nests in coniferous and aspen forests; winters in riparianClick word for definition and agricultural areas.

Diet:
Eats mainly rabbits, squirrels, ducks, and upland game birds; local diet depends partly on availability.

Ecology:
Builds stick nest in coniferous or deciduous tree. Nests are usually 2 km or more apart, but may be as close as 0.8 km. Tends to hunt low in forest canopy; most hunting is conducted from perch. From 1980-1990, 34 goshawk territories were identified on Targhee National Forest. Nests were in dense stands of old-growth coniferous timber with high canopy cover. Timber harvest activities may be negatively affecting occupancy rates of goshawks.

Reproduction:
Female incubatesClick word for definition 2-4 eggs for 32-34 days/egg; male provides food. Young leave nest at 5-6 wk, begin hunting at about 50 days, and become independent at about 70 days. Some individuals breed as yearlingsClick word for definition.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABNKC12060
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4
National Rank: N4B,N4N

Important State References:
Patla, S. 1991. Northern Goshawk monitoring project report #2. USDA Targhee National Forest, St. Anthony. 42 pp.


Original images provided by Jeff Spendelow,© 1999
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.