Accipiter gentilis


Common Names: Northern Goshawk
Category: Birds
Sub-category: Hawks, Kites, & Eagles

A medium-large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes other diurnal raptors, such as eagles, buzzards and harriers. As a species in the Accipiter genus, the goshawk is often considered a 'true hawk'. The largest member of the genus Accipiter. It is a raptor with short, broad wings and a long tail. Across most of the species's range, it is blue-grey above and barred grey or white below. The juvenile is brown above and barred brown below. Juveniles and adults have a barred tail, with dark brown or black barring. Adults always have a white eye stripe. In North America, juveniles have pale-yellow eyes, and adults develop dark red eyes usually after their second year, although nutrition and genetics may affect eye color as well. Females are significantly larger than males. In North America, juveniles are sometimes confused with the smaller Cooper's Hawk, however the juvenile goshawk displays a heavier, vertical streaking pattern on their chest and abdomen and sometimes appears to have a shorter tail due to its much larger and broader body. Although there appears to be a size overlap between small male goshawks and large female Cooper's Hawks, morphometric measurements (wing and tail length) of both species demonstrate no such overlap.

Northern Goshawks can be found in both deciduous and coniferous forests. They seem to only thrive in areas with mature, old-growth woods and are typically found where human activity is relatively low. During nesting season, they favor tall trees with intermediate canopy coverage and small openings below for hunting. They can be found at almost any altitude, but are typically found at high elevations recently due to a paucity of extensive forests remaining in lowlands across much of its range. In winter months, the northernmost populations move down to warmer forests with lower elevations, continuing to avoid detection except while migrating.

Edible Notes: No available information on edibility.
Warnings: While not generally considered dangerous, hawks sometimes will attack humans or pets when defending their territory or may see small pets as prey. It is not safe to handle an injured hawk unless protected and trained.
Sightings