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The Ivory Bill·Birds·Hawks & Owls

Northern Goshawk, Accipiter gentilis

Northern Goshawk clutching a sharp-tailed on a log in foliage.

Northern Goshawks are found in various regions across the Northern Hemisphere. They have a circumpolar distribution and are found in North America, Europe, Asia, and parts of northern Africa. They inhabit a wide range of forested habitats, including coniferous and mixed forests. They are typically associated with mature forests including coniferous and mixed forests with tall trees and dense understory vegetation.

Northern Goshawks have a robust body with broad wings and a long, barred tail. Their plumage varies, but generally, they have dark gray to black upperparts and a lighter underside with fine barring. Adults have distinctive red eyes and a prominent white eyebrow stripe. Juveniles have a brownish coloration with streaks on the breast.

They are known for their fierce temperament and defensive nature, defending their nests aggressively against potential threats.

Northern Goshawks are powerful raptors known for their agility and fierce hunting abilities. They stealthily ambush their prey, such as pigeons, crows, grouse, and jays. Their hunting technique involves sudden bursts of speed, agile flight maneuvers, and precise strikes. They can navigate through dense vegetation with ease, using their long tail and short wings for maneuverability.

Northern Goshawks build large nests of tree branches, usually high in the canopy of mature trees. They often choose coniferous trees like spruce or pine for nesting. Nests are constructed by both the male and female and are lined with softer materials such as bark, leaves, moss, and feathers. They tend to build their nests in secluded areas with good visibility of the surroundings, providing protection and a vantage point for hunting.

Females lay 2 to 4 eggs, each at intervals of 2 to 3 days. Incubation lasts around 30 to 35 days and is primarily performed by the female, while the male provides food. After hatching, both parents participate in raising and feeding the young. The chicks are initially fed a diet of small prey, such as rodents and small birds. As they grow, they are gradually introduced to larger prey.

The fledging period for Northern Goshawks occurs approximately 40 to 45 days after hatching. The young hawks leave the nest and begin to explore nearby branches, practicing their flight and hunting abilities. The parents continue to provide food and guidance during this period.

Northern Goshawks are generally non-migratory birds, but they may undertake short-distance movements or seasonal movements in search of food.