Northern goshawk

Accipiter gentilis

NH Conservation Status: Not listed

Federal Status: Not listed; Northern goshawks are legally protected in New Hampshire. Possession and take (which includes harming, harassing, injuring and killing) is illegal.

Distribution: Uncommon. Breeds throughout NH.

Description: 20-26” long with a 40-46” wingspan. The largest North American accipiter. Both males and females have pale gray back and a belly that is pale gray and finely barred. Both have a dark blackish crown and cheek and a white stripe over the eye.

Voice: Mostly silent. Occasionally will wail or make brief varied notes.

Commonly Confused Species: Cooper’s hawk, gyrfalcon, and red-shouldered hawk.

Habitat: Mature softwood and mixed forests with dense canopies and open forest floors.

Nesting: Northern goshawks nest between April and May, often in the lower canopy of beech, birch, aspen or maple trees. Females typically lay 3-4 eggs. Incubation takes place for 36-38 days and chicks are able to fly after another 34-37 days.

Diet: Primarily small to medium sized birds and small rodents.