Species profile

Name: the goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) is a medium-sized hawk. While commonly known as goshawks, the correct name is northern goshawk to distinguish them from the closely related but much rarer Henst’s and Meyer’s goshawks.

Appearance: goshawks have short, broad wings and long tails. They are typically a blue-grey or brown colour on top with a white striped chest. Their striking eyes can range from yellow to orange and even a deep red or brown.

Size: goshawks can reach up to 1.5 kg in weight with a wingspan up to 1.1 metres.

Diet: they mainly feed on birds – including crows, pigeons, grouse, and thrushes – although also take mammals such as squirrels, rabbits, and hares.

Did you know: goshawks have been used by humans to help catch food for thousands of years. Thanks to their hunting prowess they are still commonly used to this day – such as in the bestselling book H is for Hawk. Goshawks used in falconry are known to escape their handlers and much of the UK population of goshawks is thought to be made up of escapees. They are highly adaptable and powerful birds and have even established themselves in heavily populated cities such as Berlin and Hamburg.

Location: goshawks are a widespread species that can be found across  Europe, Asia, and America. Their preferred habitat is deciduous or coniferous woodland, although they can increasingly be found in urban areas.

Where to see Goshawks

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see goshawks in the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Forest of Dean
very high
very good

Photo credit: Iosto Doneddu under a Creative Commons licence from Flickr

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