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Brown Goshawk
Accipiter fasciatus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Declining.

Other Names: Australian Chestnut-collared Goshawk, Australasian Goshawk, Australian Goshawk, Gray-headed Goshawk, Western Goshawk.

Accipiter fasciatus
click to enlarge
Distribution: Australasian/Indomalayan. Eastern SOLOMON ISLANDS to VANUATU, NEW CALEDONIA, eastern NEW GUINEA, and AUSTRALIA; CHRISTMAS ISLAND (Indian Ocean). more....

Subspecies: 12 races. A. f. buruensis: South MOLUCCAS (Buru Island); A. f. didimus: Coastal tropical northern AUSTRALIA from Western Australia to Queensland (Cape York); some may winter in WALLACEA; A. f. dogwa: Southern NEW GUINEA; A. f. fasciatus: Southern AUSTRALIA, TASMANIA, and the SOLOMONS (Rennell and Bellona Is.); A. f. hellmayri: TIMOR, Semau, Rote Island; A. f. polycryptus: Eastern NEW GUINEA; A. f. savu: Savu Island; A. f. stresemanni: Bonerate and Tukangbesi Archipelago, south of SULAWESI; A. f. tjendanae: Sumba Island; A. f. vigilax: NEW CALEDONIA, LOYALTY, VANUATU; A. f. wallacei: LESSER SUNDA ISLANDS (from Lombok east to Wetar and Babar). more....

Taxonomy: The Christmas Island race, A.f. natalis, may be more closely related to the Grey Goshawk, A. novaehollandiae, or distinct at the species level (Carter 1994, Debus 1994, Hill 1997). Wink and Sauer-Gürth (2004) found that this species and A. cirrhocephalus form a clade of their own, based on cytochrome b evidence.

Movements: Partial migrant (Bildstein 2006). Juveniles and some adults, particularly from high altitudes and high latitudes, winter in coastal, lowland, or northern parts of Australia, exceptionally reaching islands to the north (Debus 1998). Juveniles may disperse or migrate up to 900 km after fledging, and there is a noticeable influx of young birds into urban areas from early autumn onward (Debus op cit.). Some, or all, of the insular races are probably largely sedentary.

Habitat and Habits: Inhabits monsoon forest and woodland, forest edge, savanna, and lightly wooded cultivation. Usually found in drier, more open forest and woodland than the Grey Groshawk (Olsen 1995). Seldom observed and hunts from a concealed perch in the lower canopy or midstory. Sometimes soars (Coates 1985). Occurs singly or sometimes in pairs (Warner 1947, Coates and Bishop (1997). Probably overlooked because of its secretive habits (Olsen op cit.) or wariness, e.g., on New Caledonia (Warner 1947). However, the small insular population on Christmas Island is reputedly quite tame, and birds are said to follow walkers in the forest (Reville 1989). more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds on mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, arthropods, and occasionally carrion (Debus 1998). In southern Australia, it preys mostly on birds and young rabbits and on birds and lizards in northern Australia (Debus op cit.). Pounces on prey from a concealed perch in foliage, or pursues it in flight, and also stalks insects on the ground (Coates and Bishop 1997, Debus op cit.). more....

Breeding: Pairs breed solitarily, building a small platform nest of sticks lined with green leaves and placed 2-36 m off the ground in the fork of a living tree (Debus 1998). In New Guinea, the nest is frequently in a tall tree fringing a garden area or at the forest edge (Coates 1985). Eggs are bluish-white, unmarked or faintly blotched and spotted with reddish-brown, and the clutch size is usually 3 eggs (range 2-4) (Coates 1985). The incubation period is 30 days, and the nestling period is 28-37 days (Debus op cit). The period of dependence after fledging lasts up to six weeks. more....

Conservation: This is a generally common and widespread species, although the Christmas Island race, natalis is classified as Critically Endangered (Garnett and Crowley 2000). It is expected that the inclusion of most of its remaining habitat into a national park will probably ensure its survival (Garnett 1992). This species is persecuted in some parts of its range because of its predilection for taking chickens. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Important References: 
Debus, S.J.S. 1994. Australasian Goshawk. P. 150 in del Hoyo, J., A.
  Elliott, and J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New
  World vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Debus, S. 1998. The birds of prey of Australia: a field guide. Oxford
  University Press, Melbourne.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Marchant, S., and P. Higgins (eds.). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand,
  and Antarctic birds. Vol. 2. Raptors to lapwings. Oxford University Press,
  Melbourne, Australia.
Olsen, P. 1995. Australian birds of prey. John Hopkins University Press,
  Baltimore, MD.

Sites of Interest:
Brown Goshawk photos.

Gregory, Tim
Olsen, Jerry
Olsen, Penny

Last modified: 11/15/2016

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 30 May. 2020

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