Society for the Preservation of Raptors (Inc)


Brown Goshawk (Accipiter fasciatus)

Brown GoshawkThe Brown Goshawk is one of Australia's most persecuted raptors.  Reviled as a "chicken hawk," (which it is not - a "chicken hawk" is a Warner Bros. cartoon character) it is a natural predator of birds, reptiles, frogs, large insects and mammals up to the size of rabbits. Brown Goshawks will hunt domestic fowl on occasions, usually either as juveniles, but sometimes as adults if they are extremely hungry due to illness, injury, or extreme environmental conditions leading to a shortage of prey in the wild. In a small number of cases a Goshawk may become habituated and regularly harrass birds in aviaries. If this happens, it may be possible for a licensed trapper to remove the bird for rehabilitation and relocation. This should always be done with the appropriate permissions from your local Wildlife Officer. Usually, however, if a Goshawk hunts domestic birds, it is because there is some underlying reason (physiological/medical or environmental) preventing it from obtaining its usual wild prey.

Brown Goshawks hunt by stealth, relying on surprise to catch their prey. They are highly agile in flight, able to power through very small gaps in the canopy without colliding with branches. They can become so focussed on pursuing small birds that they will occasionally chase them into pergolas and al frescoes, or even into houses. If this happens, simply turn the lights off and leave the largest door open to encourage the bird to leave. If the bird becomes panicked and cannot find the door, isolate the bird in the room with the lights off and the curtains drawn then call a wildlife rescuer to remove the bird safely.

The Brown Goshawk's preferred habitat is dry, open eucalypt forest and woodland.  They are often found in tree-lined areas around inland rivers and creeks, and are only rarely seen on open grassland as they require cover to hunt.

Brown Goshawks form long term pair bonds and will breed in the same area for many years.  They are distributed throughout most of Australia and may also be found in New Guinea, Lesser Sundas and New Caledonia and the New Hebrides.

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