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6

Brown Goshawk

(Accipiter fasciatus)
Alternate name(s): "Australian Goshawk", "Chicken-hawk*"
Aboriginal name(s): Race "fasciatus": "djildjil", "matwelitj", "koodjilarn" (WA)

Size: 40-50 cm; wing span 75-95 cm
Weight: 220 g (male), 355 g (female)

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Brown Goshawk at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "fasciatus"

ADULT

MALE

Frontal view of an adult male Brown Goshawk (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Swifts Creek East Road, Doctors Flat, East Gippsland, VIC, July 2016]

Near-frontal view of an adult Brown Goshawk; the prominent yellow cere and grey "beetle-brow", as well as the rounded tip of the tail, indicate that this is a Brown Goshawk, not a Collared Sparrowhawk; the bird's size indicates that this is probably a male (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Swifts Creek East Road, Doctors Flat, East Gippsland, VIC, July 2016]

Lateral view of an adult male Brown Goshawk (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Swifts Creek East Road, Doctors Flat, East Gippsland, VIC, July 2016]

Dorsal view of a Brown Goshawk
[Near Maules Creek, NSW, January 2014]

FEMALE

Dorsal view of a female Brown Goshawk (photo courtesy of M. Owen)
[Underwood Avenue Bushland in Shenton Park, Perth, WA, July 2016]

Female Brown Goshawk in flight; this bird caused a commotion in a eucalypt tree, close to nests of several other species
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2011]

Brown Goshawk(?) in flight; the identification is made based on the length and relatively dark colour of the tail (as compared to the rest of the bird's body)
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2010]

In this photo the colours are inferior, but the long tail with its rounded tip (which distinguishes the species from the similar Collared Sparrowhawk) is clearly visible
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2010]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Frontal view of an immature Brown Goshawk
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2011]

The immature Brown Goshawk decided to take a rest at our ornamental pond
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2011]

With several Pied Currawongs around it, the immature Brown Goshawk was careful, but after a few moments it settled into a more comfortable position...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2011]

... before deciding to test the waters - yikes, that pool is not heated!
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2011]

But one can get used to it
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2011]

Done! Here a lateral view of the same immature Brown Goshawk
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2011]

Immature (first-year) Brown Goshawk in flight
[Near Narrabri, NSW, January 2017]

Lateral view of an immature Brown Goshawk in flight
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, May 2016]

Immature (first-year) Brown Goshawk in flight
[Near Narrabri, NSW, January 2017]

Ventral view of a juvenile Brown Goshawk in flight (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Doctors Flat Road, Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, December 2015]

Race "didimus"

Lateral view of an adult (probably male) Brown Goshawk; this is the bird whose calls were recorded on 17 August 2014
[Fogg Dam CR, NT, August 2014]

Pair of Brown Goshawks seen from beneath in courtship flight; the female is much larger than the male (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Tiwi, NT, August 2014]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Apr - Nov Eggs: 2 - 4 Incubation period: ? Fledging age: ?

 

The breeding season depends on geographic latitude. Given the right conditions Brown Goshawks can breed at any time of the year.

Twitcher's tip

Note that, by the time they fledge (i.e., leave their nest), the young of all species of raptors - apart from the tail and wing feathers (which are still growing) - are already full adult-size.

For species of raptors with a pronounced size dimorphism between the sexes (the female is always bigger than the male), the obvious consequence is that a female near-fledging age chick already dwarfs not only any male siblings, but also its father.

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Basket Material: Sticks, green eucalypt leaves Height above ground: 10 - 25 m

 

Brown Goshawk nest with 3 eggs in it (photo courtesy of D. Johnston)
[Coonamble/Coonabarabran area, NSW, 1980ies]

Brown Goshawk's nest found in the Top End of the NT
[Fogg Dam CR, NT, August 2014]

Brown Goshawk's nest in a live eucalypt tree (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Doctors Flat Road, Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, December 2015]

Near-frontal view of one of the juvenile Brown Goshawks that have recently fledged; note its bulging crop, indicating that it has had a good feed (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Doctors Flat Road, Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, December 2015]

Near-dorsal view of the same juvenile as shown above (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Doctors Flat Road, Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, December 2015]

Frontal view of an adult Brown Goshawks delivering food (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Doctors Flat Road, Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, December 2015]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 45 x 36 mm Colour: Creamy, with sparse mid-brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

 

Closer look at the 3 eggs in a Brown Goshawk nest (photo courtesy of D. Johnston)
[Coonamble/Coonabarabran area, NSW, 1980ies]

Food, Diet

Adults: Small mammals, birds Dependents: As adults Water intake: None

All raptors are carnivores. Brown Goshawks prey on small mammals and other bird species. Together with Australian Hobbies and Peregrine Falcons Brown Goshawks are the predators feared most by other birds. We have also seen a Brown Goshawk take a 1-m long snake.

During the first few weeks, raptors feed their chicks with pieces of meat. Later on in their development, the chicks learn to tear apart their parents' prey.

The bird's size indicates that this raptor is a female Brown Goshawk; it has caught a Magpie-lark, upsetting the avian neighbourhood considerably in the process; an Australian Magpie and a Magpie-lark are in hot pursuit, while a clan of Noisy Miners and a pair of Willie Wagtails were also in on the action
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2012]

Near-frontal view of an adult Brown Goshawk with its prey - in this case a feral Common Myna
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2014]

Female Brown Goshawk escaping with its catch (a nestling?)
[Near Narrabri, NSW, November 2014]

This Brown Goshawk was seen approaching a waterhole, but it left again without drinking water
[Near Narrabri, NSW, February 2015]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

brgosh_20141231_3.mp3 fasciatus
(NW NSW)
Contact call(?), female © MD
brgosh_20141231.mp3 fasciatus
(NW NSW)
Contact calls(?), female © MD
brgosh_20160126.mp3 fasciatus
(NW NSW)
Annoyed (female; swooped by Nankeen Kestrel) © MD
 
brgosh_20140817.mp3 didimus
(Top End, NT)
? (near nest, with prey) © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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