Northern Goshawk

Northern Goshawk

Northern Goshawk
(Accipiter gentilis)

Order:  Accipitriformes
Family:  Accipitridae

Photo © Jnjhuz | Dreamstime

Northern Goshawk Information

Length:  19 - 26"

Breeding Habitat:  Coniferous or mixed forests, with some openings for hunting. Prefers habitat in remote areas, away from human disturbance. Requires large trees for nesting.

Diet:  Small to medium-sized birds such as doves, crows, small hawks, owls, ducks, pheasants, grouse; small to medium-sized mammals, including shrews, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, weasels, woodchucks, snowshoe hares, rabbits; some large insects.

  Calls of the Northern Goshawk

Additional Photos and Information

Northern Goshawk
Photo of this hawk, identifying characteristics, range, habitat, nesting, feeding habits, conservation status. (From the Raptor Center)

Northern Goshawk in Flight|
(near adult)

Northern Goshawk in Flight|

© Mike Danzenbaker

Northern Goshawk
Identification Tips

  • Sexes similar, but females much larger
  • Medium-sized, broad-winged, long-tailed hawk
  • Short, dark, hooked beak
  • Rounded wings
  • Long tail rounded at tip
  • Flies with several flaps and short glide, also soars frequently
  • Short, dark, hooked beak
  • Long, very thick tarsi appear short at rest


  • Red eye
  • Blackish head and face with bold white supercilium
  • Gray back and upperwings
  • Pale gray chin, throat, breast, underwing coverts and belly finely vermiculate
  • White undertail coverts
  • Tail dark blue-gray above and pale below, barred with dark bands
  • Flight feathers dark blue-gray above and pale below, barred with black

(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)

Breeding Bird Survey Map,

Northern Goshawk Breeding Map

(Image credit: USGS)

Winter Map from eBird

Sightings of the Northern Goshawk Nov-Mar over last 10 years

Christmas Bird Count Map
Historical CBC Map from USGS