© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Simo Mikkonen, Mervi Wahlroos, M. & W. von Wright (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.


Accipiter gentilis

  • Name also: Northern Goshawk
  • Family: Hawks – Accipitridae
  • Appearance: A medium-sized or large, relatively short-winged and long-tailed hawk.
  • Size: Length 49–64 cm (19–25 in), wingspan 93–127 cm (36–50 in), weight, male 750–1,060 g (30–42 oz), female 1,140–1,710 g (45–68 oz).
  • Nest: Large nest made of twigs, usually in the bottom half of a tree, decorated with leafy braches.
  • Breeding: 3–6 eggs laid from mid April, incubated only by females, for 35–38 days. Young learn to fly within 38–40 days.
  • Distribution: Nests in older forests throughout Finland. Earlier associated with extensive old-growth forests, but today also found in smaller areas of forest. Finnish population estimated at 4,300 pairs.
  • Migration: Leaves Finland Sept–Nov, returns March–May. Winters nearby, around the Baltic Sea, and also sometimes overwinters in Finland.
  • Diet: Birds and mammals, with prey sometimes as large as pheasants or hares.
  • Calls: Series of piercing insistent screams or various mewing calls.
  • Endangerment: Near threatened, protected. Globally Least concern.

Goshawks are strongly built hawks with short, wide wings and a long tail. Males are considerably shorter than females, and easily confused with smaller Sparrowhawks, though Goshawks are bigger-bellied and their wing secondaries and necks are longer. In flight their heads are more prominent than those of Sparrowhawks (making them look more cross-shaped), and their bodies seem wider behind their wings near their white rumps. Flight consists of a few swift wing-beats followed by a long flat glide. Sometimes soars.

Mature Goshawks have grey upperparts and densely striped underparts. With age their backs turn to bluish grey, and the dark stripes across their underparts become narrower. Juveniles have brownish upperparts and their underparts are pale with dark lengthwise streaks. Goshawks have yellow legs and bluish black beaks with greenish yellow ceres. The irises of younger birds are greyish, becoming more yellow or orange with age.

Three subspecies are found in Finland: A. g. gentilis across most of the country, A. g. buteoides in Lapland, and A. g. moscoviae in SW Finland.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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