The Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis; from OE. góshafuc 'goose-hawk') is a medium large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as eagles, buzzards and harriers.
It is a widespread species throughout the temperate parts of the northern hemisphere. In North America it is named as the Northern Goshawk. It is mainly resident, but birds from colder regions of north Asia and Canada migrate south for the winter.
Goshawk in flightThis species nests in trees, building a new nest each year. It hunts birds and mammals in woodland, relying on surprise as it flies from a perch or hedge-hops to catch its prey unaware. Animals as large as hares and Pheasant are taken. Its call is a fierce screech. Many older goshawks refuse to attack hares, if it was previously seriously kicked by a hare which it tried to catch.
This bird is a raptor with short broad wings and a long tail, both adaptations to manoeuvring through trees. The male is blue-grey above and barred grey below, 49-56 cm long with a 93-105 cm wingspan. The much larger female is 58-64 cm long with a 108-127 cm wingspan, slate grey above grey below. The juvenile is brown above and barred brown below. The flight is a characteristic "slow flap slow flap straight glide".
In Eurasia, the male is confusable with a female Sparrowhawk, but is larger, much bulkier and has relatively longer wings. In spring, he has a spectacular roller-coaster display, and this is the best time to see this secretive forest bird.
The name "goshawk" is derived from "goose hawk" and may refer to this bird's barred plumage as well as its ability to take large prey.
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