© Karen Laubenstein, USFWS

Northern Goshawk

Northern Goshawk
Accipiter gentilis
Hawk-like Birds | Family: Hawks and Eagles, Accipitridae

An estimated 41% of the species' North American population breeds within the Boreal Forest.



This big raptor is mainly a resident of mountainside coniferous forests. It is fearless in defense of its nest and will boldly attack anyone who ventures too close. It has recently begun extending its range to the South and now breeds in small numbers in deciduous forests.


20-26" (51-66 cm). W. 3' 6" (1.1 m). A robust hawk with a long narrow tail, short rounded wings, and bold white eyebrow. Adults blue-gray above with a black crown; pale underparts finely barred with gray. Young bird similar in size and shape, but brown above, streaked below.


Loud kak-kak-kak-kak-kak when disturbed.


3 or 4 white or pale bluish eggs in a large mass of sticks lined with fresh sprigs of evergreen and placed in a tree.


Breeds in coniferous forests; winters in farmlands, woodland edges, and open country.


Breeds from Alaska east through Mackenzie and northern Quebec to Newfoundland, and south to New Mexico, Great Lakes, and New England; also southward to northern Appalachians. Winters south to Virginia and Southwest.