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Birds of North America, Vagrant Visitors, Introduced Birds and Possibilities

Northern Goshawk

Autour des palombes

Accipiter gentilis

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Species: The Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) is the largest member of the accipiter family seen in North America. Similar in size to buteos, feeds on larger prey, such as grouse, ducks, rabbits and maybe even geese if given the opportunity, and smaller birds. The female is very protective around her nest, and may attack humans if one approaches too close. Can sometimes be seen soaring quite high in the sky when in the search of prey.

Distinctions: Adults are similar in appearance, the female being the larger of the two. Mature birds have bluish to slate- coloured backs, fine markings on breast, checkered wings when seen flying. Long tails with visible banding, wide wings which aids in gliding, red-coloured eyes, head has a bold supercilium. Juveniles, being of similar size to the adults, brown plumage, streaking on breast, heavier in nature, when compared to a juvenile Cooper's Hawk.

Voice: Rapid call notes, sounds something in nature to kek, kek, kek.

Nesting: Two to three bluish off white eggs, one brood per year. Nest built in mature trees, high above the ground. Built from branches, sticks, twigs, leaves and softer materials.

Birds of North America
B L W W W Family Latin Name
21" 53.3cm 41" 104.1cm 2.1lb. 0.95kg Accipitridae Accipiter gentilis

  • Summer
  • Year Around
  • Winter

Distribution: Found throughout the North American forests, from Newfoundland to Alaska, south to Mexico, and east across the northern half of the US states. Prefers to nest in the northern regions, will follows prey to the southern gulfs, when food become scarce. Although wide spread, is not considered a commonly seen hawk, because of its smaller numbers, and its habitat of hunting mostly in treed areas.

References to Other Bird Sites:

Avibase - the world bird database

ABA - American Birding Association

AOS - The American Ornitholgy Society

ABC - American Bird Conservancy

eBird - TheCornellLab of Ornithology

NA - National Geographic

NAC - National Audubon Society

Classic Collection of North American Birds