Nature Journal
with Photos

          
Northern Goshawk Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
 
General Information
- Sexes similar, but females much larger
- Medium-sized, broad-winged, long-tailed hawk
- Short, dark, hooked beak
- Rounded wings
- Long tail rounded at tip
- Flies with several flaps and short glide, also soars
  frequently
- Short, dark, hooked beak
- Long, very thick tarsi appear short at rest

Adult
- Red eye
- Blackish head and face with bold white supercilium
- Gray back and upperwings
- Pale gray chin, throat, breast, underwing coverts
  and belly finely vermiculate
- White undertail coverts
- Tail dark blue-gray above and pale below, barred
  with dark bands
- Flight feathers dark blue-gray above and pale below,
  barred with black

Immature
- Yellow eye
- Brown head with bold white supercilium
- Brown back and upperwings
- White belly boldly streaked with black to undertail
  coverts
- Tail, brown above and pale below, marked by jagged
  bars edged narrowly in white

Similar species
Adults unmistakable when seen well; at a distance, Goshawks distinctively combine the large size of a buteo and the broad-winged, long-tailed shape and quick wingbeats of accipiters.

Immature Northern Goshawks are similar in shape and patterning to immature Cooper's, but are much larger, with proportionately shorter tails, bulkier bodies and thicker black streaking extending all the way to the undertail coverts. Sharp-shinned Hawks are typically much smaller, with shorter, squared-off tails and shorter heads that do not project as far when flying.

Immature Red-shouldered Hawk has pale crescents in the wing and a shorter tail.

 
 
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