Accipiter gentilis
Northern goshawk
Image of Accipiter gentilis

Photo by David Cuthrell 

Expand

Adult

More Images

Key Characteristics

The Northern goshawk is a large forest bird with long broad wings and a long tail which is rounded on the end. Upperparts of the adult are brown-gray to slate gray. The head has a black cap with a pronounced white eyeline. Underparts are light gray with fine horizontal vermiculations and vertical streaks. Undertail coverts are white, showy, and quite fluffy, especially during the breeding season. Immature birds are heavily streaked below and the undertail coverts are spotted. The goshawk may also be identified by its call which is a sharp and repetitive "ki ki ki" or "kak kak kak".

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC
  • US Status: PS
  • State Rank: S3
  • Global Rank: G5

Occurrences

County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Alcona92012
Alger72014
Antrim32002
Bay12002
Benzie22001
Charlevoix11999
Cheboygan82002
Chippewa152012
Clare12001
Crawford52012
Delta92014
Dickinson12005
Gogebic52007
Grand Traverse22007
Iosco82012
Iron92006
Kalamazoo11998
Kalkaska12007
Lake52010
Luce32011
Mackinac122011
Manistee82011
Marquette12002
Mason42005
Menominee52012
Midland22001
Montcalm12002
Muskegon12000
Newaygo62007
Oceana51999
Ogemaw12003
Ontonagon62012
Oscoda122011
Otsego32007
Schoolcraft52012
Tuscola12008
Wexford132011
Distribution map for Accipiter gentilis

Updated 1/31/2017. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.

Habitat

Northern Goshawks utilize a wide range of forested habitats ranging from boreal forests to northern hardwoods and occasionally pine plantations. In Michigan, goshawk nests occur most often in deciduous trees such as aspen, birch, beech, and maple and less frequent in conifers such as white pine, red pine, and jack pine.

Natural Community Types

Methodology

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Feel free to send questions and comments to Brad Slaughter at slaugh14@msu.edu.

Management

Management practices that maintain moderate canopy closure, preserve large trees for nesting, and conserve large contiguous blocks of hardwoods or mixed forest stands should benefit this species.

Active Period

Migration from fourth week of February to fourth week of March

Nesting from fourth week of March to third week of July

Migration from fourth week of August to third week of December

Survey Methods

A standard survey methodology for this species is to broadcast a goshawk call with a CD player (or other electronic device) in suitable habitat during the breeding season.

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/explorer [Accessed Apr 26, 2017]

More Information

See MNFI Species Abstract

References

Survey References

Technical References

Facebook link