Northern Goshawk

Northern Goshawk

Northern Goshawk
(Accipiter gentilis)

Order:  Accipitriformes
Family:  Accipitridae

Photo © Jnjhuz

Northern Goshawk Information

Length:  19 - 26"

Breeding Habitat:
In the Northeast, the Northern Goshawk is most often found in coniferous or mixed forests containing large trees for nesting.

This hawk prefers habitat with access to small forest openings such as woodland roads, logging trails or areas with downed trees. It favors, but does not require, sites in proximity to water such as streams, ponds, and lakes.

In the Northeast, the Northern Goshawk feeds predominately on medium-sized birds, such as jays, crows, woodpeckers and grouse, and small to medium-sized mammals, including chipmunks, squirrels, snowshoe hares and rabbits.

  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)

Northern Goshawk
Breeding Bird Survey Map,

Northern Goshawk Breeding Map

(Image credit: USGS)

Northern Goshawk
Range Maps from Cornell

Northern Goshawk year-round and nonbreeding range

Includes separate map of sightings.

Northern Goshawk
Christmas Bird Count Map

Historical CBC Map from USGS