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Brown Goshawk, Accipiter fasciatus

Brown Goshawk
Photo copyright
Dave Watts

Description

The Brown Goshawk is a medium-sized raptor. Females larger than males, reaching up to 350g and 55cm with a wingspan of just under 1m. The upper parts are grey and underparts mostly rufous, finely barred with white. They have a brown head, with a fierce brow, and a reddish collar and lighter barring underneath. In the adult the eyes are bright yellow and brown-grey in the juvenile. The rounded wings are darker above and reddish below with dark wingtips. The long rounded tail is grey with dark bars. The legs are yellow, with red-brown feathering near the thighs.

Habitat

Brown Goshawks live in most timbered areas including woodlands and forests.

Diet

Mostly feed on small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and some insects and carrion. They often hunt starlings and sparrows in the early evening, when they may be spotted flying low although generally they are quite a secretive bird. They most often hunt from a low, concealed perch and use a burst of speed to pounce on prey which they catch in their talons. They are a fast, stealthy raptor.

Breeding

Brown Goshawks breed during July to December, laying up to four eggs, which the female incubates. Chicks hatch after 33 days and spend a further 5 weeks in the nest. They nest in tall trees, choosing the tallest possible and usually near a waterway, making a platform of sticks lined with fresh eucalypt leaves. Both parents defend the nest and will often return to the same nest the next season.

Call

The larger females have a deeper voice than males and their calls are a loud, rising 'keek-keek-keek'; or a slow, drawn out 'ee-you-wick’.

Distribution

Brown Goshawks occur throughout Australia and are listed as secure in all States. There are 12 subspecies of the Brown Goshawk with some occuring in Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, New Hebrides, Lesser Sundas, Vanuata and Fiji.

In Tasmania the species is common throughout wooded country, and may be seen in suburban areas.