Northern Goshawk

Northern Goshawk

Known scientifically as Accipiter gentilis, the Northern Goshawk is an average size bird of prey belonging to the family Accipitridae, including other birds of prey such as buzzards, harriers, and eagles.

The Goshawk, which belongs to the genus Accipiter is regarded as a “true hawk”. Accipiter is a Latin name for “haw” gotten from accipere meaning “to grasp” and also gentilis which means “noble”.

This due to the fact that only nobles were allowed to fly the Goshawk for falconry during the Middle Ages. The Northern Goshawk is a common species that live in the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

In the Genus Accipiter, the Northern Goshawk is the only member that inhabits North America and Eurasia.

When talking about distribution, the Northern Goshawk might possibly have the widest distribution of any of the true members of the Accipitridae family, and controversially second only to the golden eagle which has an extensive range to Southern Asia compared to the Goshawk.

Table of Contents

Scientific Classification

  • Scientific Name: Accipiter Gentilis
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Genus: Accipiter
  • Species: A. Gentilis


The Northern Goshawk has a large gelid distribution. It is found in the majority of the regions of Europe, in Eurasia, exempting Iceland and Ireland.

It has a moderately flecked distribution in the Western part of Europe like Spain, Great Britain, and France, but it is fairly found through the rest of the continent continually.

Eurasian distribution spans continuously across the majority of Russia, with the completely treeless tundra in the northern expanse to the limits of western Siberia extending to Anadyr and Kamchatka.

At the end of the Northwest of Morocco, in the southern limits in the Eastern Hemisphere is where you will find the Northern Goshawk.

They are also found in the Caucasus, Southern Greece, some parts of Japan, and West of China. They may be rarely found in Taif, in Saudi Arabia, and in Vietnam. Northern Goshawk is widely found also in the Western United States in North America, also in Western Canada, and Alaska.

Their scope of breeding in the west bordering the United States comprises greatly of the wooded foothills of the Rocky Mountains and many large mountain scopes from Washington to Southern California and even exceedingly east to Central Colorado and most part of West Texas.


Northern Goshawk can be located in both coniferous and deciduous forests. Some species tend to show a great regional preference for particular trees, but in general, Northern Goshawks doesn’t have any strong general preferences between coniferous and deciduous trees. A typical Goshawks usually need closeness to openings where they can carry out their hunting.

Goshawks in central Europe especially, and those of Eurasia may dwell in a moderately urbanized patchwork of shelterbelts, largely isolated trees, small woods in the central regions of Eurasia cities.

Even if Northern Goshawks are cautious of the presence of humans than that of Sparrowhawks of Eurasia, they are known to dwell in some wooded parts of the large cities of Central Europe that are moderately dense, such cities as Hamburg and Berlin.

Entrance to Watercourse and any kind of floodplain zones is not unusual in Goshawk home scope but appears not to be the criteria. Restricted tree-lined floodplain in otherwise moderately bare habitats can give suitable cold habitat in the absence of additional vast woodlands.

You can find the Northern Goshawk in almost any altitude; but recently, it has been found to dwell in high elevations because of the dearth of vast forests left in lowlands across much of its scope.

With regard to altitude, goshawks can dwell anywhere as high as the tree line of mountain scope, which measures up to 9,800ft in elevation.


Northern Goshawks are fairly short with wings that are very broad, and a long tail which is mostly common to birds of prey, typical of the Accipiter species.

A typical Accipiter species has a moderately sized bill, short tail, long wings, moderately short Legs. Northern Goshawk is mostly inclined to exhibit color disparity, with a greater number of the goshawks far north being lightly colored and those in cozy regions being darker in appearance.

The feather of the Northern Goshawk varies when compared to that of the Eurasian Sparrows hawk.


Northern Goshawk mostly flies alone or sometimes in groups. Just like most birds of prey, northern goshawks are greatly territorial.

They usually use display fights to keep their territory under their care. Goshawks may get involved in mutual or single high circling, where each sex is inclined to defend its territory from others of the same sex.

Territorial fights, in general, are settled in the absence of physical contact, mostly with the younger bird who seeking the territory, retreating, with the older approaching in a sprint-like warning flight, making a flash of its underside at the invader.

In a situation where the intruding Goshawk does not evacuate the territory, the defending Goshawk will no be forced to increase the accentuated quality of its flight which also includes a soft rolling wave-formed rowing flight in order to ward off the intruder.


The Northern Goshawk though sometimes regarded as inactive for a northern species of bird of prey is a partial migrant.

Between the month of September and November is where migratory movements in goshawks take place, most times it extends through to December, from the fall of February to April during springtime.

Migration during spring is less extensive and also known poorly than fall migration but tends to climax in the fall of March to early April.


The lifespan of Goshawk in the wild varies. The report shows that northern goshawks can live up to 27 years of age when under captivity. If wild birds survive their initial two years, it should be anticipated that they can Live up to 11 years.

Sadly, the record has shown that in Got land of Sweden, 28 percent of deaths were due to starvation and disease of Goshawks while in Norway, 9percent of deaths were as a result of starvation alone.

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