|Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves (Birds) Order: Falconiformes Family: Accipitridae|
Size: 52-62 cm.
Northern Goshawk is an agile, woodland hawks in the genus Accipiter (Latin for "hawk"). Their flight is characterized by several stiff, quick and powerful wing beats followed by glides. The common name "goshawk" is derived from the Old English words "gosh" (goose) and "hafoc" (have or grasp) and refers to their ability to seize medium-sized birds with clutching talons when hunting. It inhabits deep, conifer-dominated, mixed woodlands and forest margins.
Identification: Northern Goshawk, the largest Accipiter, is a relatively stocky hawk with a broad body, a short, wedge-shaped tail, and long, rounded wings. In adults, a conspicuous, speckled eyebrow, flaring behind the bright-red eye, separates the dark crown from the slate-gray nape, back and wings. Dense gray bars streak the whitish neck, breast, belly, flanks and underwings. Juveniles have golden eyes and mottled-brown crowns, napes, backs and wings. Underneath, their buffy necks, breasts, bellies, flanks and underwings are heavily streaked in thick blackish-brown. In all plumages, the undertail is thickly banded in black and white.
Calls: At the nest, adult Northern Goshawks make a high-pitched, loud and cackling "kye, kye, kye" noise. Displaying adults, give a repeated, gull-like "KREE-ah" call. When near the nest, males cluck a wooden "guck" note. Juveniles beg with plaintive, "kree-ah" screams.
Breeding: Northern Goshawks build slightly-hollowed, compact nesting platforms in the clefts of large, coniferous or deciduous trees. Nest sites often are reused annually. Both parents select a high nest site with a commanding view and assemble the nest of sticks and twigs. Softly lined with strips of bark, spruce sprigs, grass and feathers, the nest shelters the 2-5, 59 mm eggs of the clutch. The eggs are bluish-white to off-white and may occasionally be nest-stained or spotted in brown. The pair bond between the male and female is long-term. While the female is the primary incubator, the male assists her during the 36-38 day incubation period. Though cared for by both parents, the female primarily broods and feeds the young. Although young birds fledge in 35-42 days after hatching, they continue to be dependent upon their parents for 30-40 days post-fledging. If the nest is threatened, the female will vehemently attack intruders, including humans.
Food: Northern Goshawks prey upon medium-sized, ground-dwelling birds and mammals as large as hares. They forage low in deep woodlands, and hunt birds in ambush attacks, either in mid-air or from their perches. In search of prey, these hawks fly in fast, horizontal flight low over the ground. When prey is spotted, they fly swiftly to overtake smaller birds. In spectacular aerial "stoops," in which they rapidly dive on flying birds from above, they strike and kill their prey in mid-air with a lethal blow from the talons. The smaller and more agile male is able to capture swifter prey.