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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

Life, Habitat and Pictures of the Northern Goshawk

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:

These are links to websites pertaining to the different birding institutions, societies and organizations here in North America. Some of these same sites are a great asset to seeking out knowledge on birds in other regions of the world. Each of these links offer the user different methods to identify birds, whether it be by regions, habitat, appearance or maybe colour. Knowledge on the possibilities of where and what birds might be present are included.

Avibase - the world bird database This site provides the user with a complete list of bird species, broken down per country, or in the example of the US or Canada, per state and province. Here, bird species names are available in other languages, a great asset to be used as a translation of foreign bird names.

ABA - American Birding Association This site represents an organization that maintains official records of all birds species that have been proven to have been seen inside the perimeters of the North American Continent and the surrounding bodies of water. Regular revised versions are posted to keep the bird list current at all times. This is the list used by all serious birders over their lifetime. You may be aware of the movie called the "Big Year". It was with this list that all the competing birders used in an attempt to set a new record as to how many bird species that could be seen by an individual birder in one calendar year.

The description to follow is taken from the AOS Home Page.

AOS - The American Ornitholgy Society is an international society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of birds, enriching ornithology as a profession, and promoting a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds. As one of the world's oldest and largest ornithological societies, AOS produces scientific publications of the highest quality, hosts intellectually engaging and professionally vital meetings, serves ornithologists at every career stage, pursues a global perspective, and informs public policy on all issues important to ornithology and ornithological collections. AOS is distinguished by its tremendous collective expertise, including eminent scientists, conservation practitioners, early career innovators, and students.

eBird - TheCornellLab of OrnithologyeBird is a must for any individual, who has an interest in birds. This site allows users to sign up and participate in recording birds seen on a daily basis as well as the location, for any bird species seen in the world. In addition, users can use the existing data to search out the location of bird species throughout the year. By using filters, information as to the movements can be determined. Photos can be added to identify individual birds. Migration pattern can be calculated using information by months or years as needed. Range maps can be verified, allowing the users to see where the presence of individual bird species are expected to be at certain times of the year.

NA - National Geographic The Society of National Geographic provides some of the best books available for those who have an interest in birds. The book called "The Complete Birds of North America", is a book recommended to be part of any birders library. This book covers all the native and vagrant species of birds seen on the North American Continent. It provides information on all the birds listed on the ABA bird list. This book goes into great details, describing the individual species and their races. That aside, their website provides wonderful information pertaining to many articles regarding nature.

I hope you will take advantage of these suggested websites. I have used each of them, in one way or another, throughout the years in my quest to better identify and understand our fine feathered friends.

Classic Collection of North American Birds