FANDOM


Northern Goshawk ad M2

Discription Edit

A large and powerful bird of prey, the northern goshawk was traditionally revered as a symbol of strength. It possesses short, robust wings that enable rapid acceleration, and a long tail, which provides excellent manoeuvrability while flying between trees. The adult plumage is brownish-grey to slate grey above, with a black cap on the head and a distinctive white stripe above the reddish-orange eyes. The underparts are light grey with fine horizontal barring on the breast, and small, black, vertical streaks on the throat. The adult female is considerably larger than the male, with browner upperparts and coarser markings on the breast, while the juvenile is brown above and pale buff to whitish below, with heavy streaking. The northern goshawk exhibits a high degree of geographical variation, with eight subspecies currently recognised, separated by size, colouration and plumage patterning.

A large and powerful bird of prey, the northern goshawk was traditionally revered as a symbol of strength. It possesses short, robust wings that enable rapid acceleration, and a long tail, which provides excellent manoeuvrability while flying between trees. The adult plumage is brownish-grey to slate grey above, with a black cap on the head and a distinctive white stripe above the reddish-orange eyes. The underparts are light grey with fine horizontal barring on the breast, and small, black, vertical streaks on the throat. The adult female is considerably larger than the male, with browner upperparts and coarser markings on the breast, while the juvenile is brown above and pale buff to whitish below, with heavy streaking. The northern goshawk exhibits a high degree of geographical variation, with eight subspecies currently recognised, separated by size, colouration and plumage patterning.

Distribution Edit

The northern goshawk has a large circumpolar distribution. In Eurasia, it is found in most areas of Europe excluding Ireland and Iceland. It also has a fairly spotty distribution in western Europe (i.e. Great Britain, Spain, France) but is more or less found continuously through the rest of the continent. Their Eurasian distribution sweeps continuously across most of Russia, excluding the fully treeless tundra in the northern stretches, to the western limits of Siberiaas far as Anadyr and Kamchatka. In the Eastern Hemisphere, they are found in their southern limits in extreme northwestern Morocco, Corsica and Sardinia, the "toe" of Italy, southern Greece, Turkey, the Caucasus, Sinkiang's Tien Shan, in some parts of Tibet and the Himalayas, western China and Japan. In winter, northern goshawks may be found rarely as far south as to Taif in Saudi Arabia and perhaps Tonkin, Vietnam.

In North America, they are most broadly found in the western United States, including Alaska, and provinces in western Canada. Their breeding range in the western contiguous United States largely consists of the wooded foothills of the Rocky Mountains and many other large mountain ranges from Washington to southern California extending east to central Colorado and westernmost Texas. Somewhat discontinuous breeding populations are found in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, thence also somewhat spottily into western Mexico down through Sonora and Chihuahua along the Sierra Madre Occidental as far as Jalisco and Guerrero, their worldwide southern limit as a breeding species.

The goshawk continues eastbound through much of Canada as a native species, but is rarer in most of the eastern United States, especially the Midwest where they are not typically found outside of the Great Lakes region (a very small population persists in the extreme northeastern corner of North Dakota), where a good-sized breeding population occurs in the northern parts of Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan and somewhat into Ohio. They breed also in mountainous areas of New England, New York, central Pennsylvania and northwestern New Jersey, sporadically down to extreme northwestern Maryland and northeastern West Virginia. Vagrants have been reported in Ireland, central Morocco, northern Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, southern Iran, Pakistan, western India (Gujarat) and on Izu-shoto (south of Japan) and the Commander Islands, not to mention most of the United States where they do not breed.

Biology Edit

The northern goshawk takes a variety of small and medium-sized birds and mammals, up to the size of a grouse or hare. It usually hunts from a well-concealed perch, remaining briefly at one spot before making a short flight to another; although it may also make survey flights along forest edges and over clearings. Once prey is spotted, the northern goshawk swoops down, sometimes crashing through vegetation, before driving its talons into its victim and killing it with a kneading motion.

The northern goshawk is not a social species, and during the breeding season the nests of breeding pairs are usually found over one kilometre apart. Between April and early May, the female lays a clutch of one to five eggs in a nest of sticks lined with twigs and leaves, situated high in a tree. The eggs are incubated by the female for 35 to 38 days, while the male supplies food. Once hatched, the male continues to provide food, while the female defends the nest aggressively, even attacking approaching humans. Fledging occurs after around 34 to 41 days, but the young do not become independent until 70 to 90 days old. The northern goshawk usually reaches sexual maturity at two to three years of age, and has been known to live for up to 19 years.

Range and Habitat Edit

The northern goshawk has an extremely large range, extending throughout much of North America, Europe and northern Asia. In the Old World, this species can be found from Britain, east to Japan, with its northern breeding limits reaching as far as northern Sweden and north-east Siberia. Its southern breeding limits extend to central China in the east of its range and extreme north-west Africa in the west, but vagrant individuals may be found in a number of other locations, such as the United Arab Emirates. In the New World, the northern goshawk is found in western Canada, south to Tennessee and southern Arizona in the U.S.A., and Jalisco in western Mexico. While the majority of northern goshawk populations remain resident throughout the year, the northernmost populations make seasonal southward migrations to the Himalayas, northern Indochina, central Europe and central Asia.

The northern goshawk inhabits mature woodland, both coniferous and deciduous, from lowlands into mountainous, subalpine areas. It particularly favours woodland edges that border open areas, and sometimes occurs in town parks.

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.