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Northern Goshawk - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies A. g. atricapillus
Photo © by fuzzhead
Richland, WA, USA
Accipiter gentilis

Includes: Eurasian Goshawk


Juvenile of subspecies A. g. atricapillus
Photo © by digishooter
Kern County, CA, USA, August 2011

46–63 cm (18-25¾ in) Large, robust accipiter.

  • head proportionately small but neck long
  • tail long, narrow with rounded tip
  • Wings quite short and rounded
  • supercilium bold, white


  • above blue-grey (intensity varies: may appear lead-grey)
  • crown and ear coverts blackish
  • underparts pale, finely barred with grey

Immature Brown above and streaked below

Similar species

Female Eurasian Sparrowhawk (which see).


In America, breeds from Alaska east through Mackenzie and northern Quebec to Newfoundland, and south to New Mexico, Great Lakes, and New England; also southward to northern Appalachians. Winters south to Virginia and Southwest.

A widespread species in the Western Palearctic breeding from Iberia east to the Black Sea and Caucasus and north to northern Scandinavia and Arctic Russia.


Juvenile of subspecies A. g. fujiyamae
Photo © by stoop
Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan, October 2009


Immature of subspecies gentilis. Photo © by jbpixels
Munich, Germany, 2021

Clements recognises the following subspecies [1]:

Subspecies A.g. apache (Sierra Madre Occidental Mexico to SE Arizona and SW New Mexico USA; Maderas del Carmen? Mexico) is not recognised by all authorities [1]

1st Year Plumage
Photo © by jbpixels
Near Oberpfaffenhofen Airport, Germany,September, 2021


2nd year juvenile, in moult, subspecies gentilis
Photo © by lovejoy
Derbyshire, March 2017

Deciduous or coniferous woodland interspersed with open areas. Often over more open country in winter.



They often sit upright, with a hip-heavy outline. They fly at tree-top level with slow wing-beats interspersed with short straight glides.


Their diet consists mostly of small and medium sized birds and mammals, even capercaillie and hares.


They nest high in a tree, about 10-15 m up. They often re-use the nest.


Usually silent, sometimes lets out a loud kak-kak-kak-kak-kak when disturbed.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved March 2017)
  4. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1