(Photograph by Peter Tonelli)
The Grey Goshawk is a medium-sized bird of
prey (350-550mm). In Tasmania, the bird, despite its name, is all white - the only all-white raptor (bird of prey) in the world. On the mainland, two colour forms occur - all white and grey. The legs and feet, and the cere (just behind the bill), are yellow. At a distance, the grey goshawk can be confused with the sulphur-crested cockatoo
. Females are larger than males.
Juveniles in their first year have olive-yellow
eyes which go orange in their second year and
then red when mature.
Occurs singularly or in pairs in rainforest, wet sclerophyll forest and woodland.
Goshawks feed on birds, small mammals, reptiles and insects. They pursue prey in flight, striking with powerful talons. They will ambush birds.
Breeding is restricted to wet forest
(especially blackwoods), although juveniles can be
seen in a variety of habitats. The nest is large and built of sticks and lined with leaves high in a tree fork. Two to three eggs are laid. The same
nest is often used from year to year. The
female does most of the incubation, though the male relieves her when she
needs to feed. The male catches most of the food for the young.
The call is a shrill, high-pitched chatter, and also a musical "kuik, kuik, kuik". (Audio recordings courtesy of David Stewart/Nature Sound
The Grey Goshawk is uncommon to rare through eastern and northern Australia in suitable forested habitat. It also occurs in New Guinea and Indonesia. The white colour phase is found in the Kimberly, coastal Victoria and Tasmania.
In Tasmania, the species is found in forested areas throughout the State, although it is most commonly seen in the northwest.