Goshawk

Length: 48-61cm

Wingspan: 135-165cm

Conservation Status: Green

Description: Goshawks are often confused with sparrowhawks or peregrines, but can be distinguished by their bright red eyes, white 'eyebrow' stripe and the characteristic 'S-curve' of their wings when held in flight. Male goshawks are significantly smaller than females, usually by around 20 per cent. Hunted and largely confined over time to the forests of Scotland, by the end of the 19th century goshawks had become extinct in the UK. However, in the twentieth century they were slowly reintroduced into the wild, in part by accident as escaped falconers' birds although unfortunately persecution of the species still continues. If you look up at a goshawk from the ground, you will see its grey stripes and a fluff of white feathers at the base of the tail. They have black talons and yellow legs. The territorial flights of the goshawk are called 'sky dances' or 'rollercoaster rides', as to win a female, the male goshawk can get quite acrobatic!

Nesting: Goshawks nest between 10 and 20 metres above the woodland floor. The female goshawk builds a large platform out of sticks, bedded in with softer vegetation such as pine foliage, which also has a disinfectant quality. Goshawks lay 3 or 4 eggs of a bluish white colour. There are now 400 pairs of goshawks nesting in the UK and this number is increasing.

Feeding: Goshawks feed on small birds and mammals, including rabbits and squirrels. Their prey is plucked up during a short dashing flight.

Information and image from Garden Bird Supplies