Grey goshawk

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Grey goshawk
Grey Goshawk Dayboro Apr02.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Accipiter
Species: A. novaehollandiae
Binomial name
Accipiter novaehollandiae
(Gmelin, 1788)

The grey goshawk (Accipiter novaehollandiae) the white morph of which is known as the white goshawk, is a strongly built, medium-sized bird of prey in the family Accipitridae.


White morph
A white goshawk.

The grey morph has a pale grey head and back, dark wingtips, barred grey breast and tail, and white underparts. The white morph is the only bird of prey in the world to be entirely white.[2]

Grey goshawks are about 40–55 cm long, with wingspans of 70–110 cm. Females are much larger than males, weighing about 680 g. Males average 350 g.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The grey goshawk is found along the coasts of northern, eastern and south-eastern Australia, Tasmania and rarely Western Australia. The variable goshawk was previously considered a subspecies.

Their preferred habitats are forests, tall woodlands, and timbered watercourses.


Goshawks usually prey on mammals such as rabbits, possums, and bats.[3] They may also eat birds, small reptiles, and insects. Females, due to their size, can catch larger prey than males.

Hunting is often done by stealth, but grey goshawks are willing to pursue their prey before catching it with their talons.


Grey and white goshawks interbreed freely. They partner for life, breeding from July to December. They nest in tall trees on a platform of sticks and twigs with a central depression lined with green leaves. The female lays a clutch containing 2 or 3 eggs, which are incubated for about 35 days. Chicks fledge 35–40 days after hatching.

The female is usually responsible for incubating the eggs and feeding the young. The male does most of the hunting.[4]

Conservation status[edit]

State of Victoria (Australia)

  • The grey goshawk is listed as threatened on the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. [1] Under this Act, an Action Statement for the recovery and future management of this species has not been prepared.[2]
  • On the 2007 advisory list of threatened vertebrate fauna in Victoria, this species is listed as vulnerable.[5]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2014). "Accipiter novaehollandiae". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  2. ^ Society for the Preservation of Raptors species data
  3. ^ Olsen PD, Debus SJS, Czechura GV, Mooney NJ (1990) Comparative feeding ecology of the grey goshawk Accipiter novaehollandiae and brown goshawk Accipiter fasciatus. Australian Bird Watcher 13: 178–192.
  4. ^ Birds in Backyards - Grey Goshawk
  5. ^ Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (2007). Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria - 2007. East Melbourne, Victoria: Department of Sustainability and Environment. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-74208-039-0.

External links[edit]