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Grey-headed Goshawk
Accipiter poliocephalus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Stable.

Other Names: Gray-headed Goshawk, New Guinea Goshawk, New Guinea Grey-headed Goshawk.

Accipiter poliocephalus
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Distribution: Australasian. Western Papuan islands and Aru Islands through NEW GUINEA to the D'Entrecasteaux Archipelago (Ferguson Island) and Louisiade Archipelago (Misima, Tagula); possibly far northern AUSTRALIA. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: Forms a superspecies with A. princeps with which it may be conspecific. The spelling "Grey" is used here for the vernacular name to conform to usage within the range of the species.

Movements: Non-migratory, but juveniles disperse from breeding areas (Bildstein 2006).

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in gallery forest, secondary growth, forest edges, and partly cleared areas, where it is reclusive and seldom seen (Coates and Peckover 2001). It does not soar, but is a still hunter that attacks prey from a perch (Beehler et al. 1986). It is usually solitary (Coates 1985). more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds on small birds and reptiles. more....

Breeding: A nest seen by Coates (1985) near Brown River was in a tall remnant tree in an area of village gardens; the tree was also the site of an active colony of Metallic Starlings (Aplonis metallica). The nest was made typical of the genus, being made of sticks and leaves, and it was located 27 m high in the first main fork of the tree. A presumably incubating bird was observed on the nest on 28 August, only 2 m from active starling nests. A nest seen by Shaw Meyer at Bonena, Mt. Mura (near Mt. Simpson, southeastern New Guinea) on 18 December contained a single egg, which was white and heavily marked with buff and olive blotches (Harrison and Frith 1970). The nest was a large compact structure composed of sticks and leafy twigs.

Conservation: Apparently common in much of its limited range. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International.

Population Estimates: Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) suggested that the population of this species must be in the tens of thousands or even higher, based on the extent of the available habitat on New Guinea and its adaptability to broken forest and cultivated areas.

Important References: 
Andrew, P. 1992. The birds of Indonesia: a checklist. Kukila Checklist no.
  1. Indonesian Ornithological Society, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Beehler, B.M. 1978. Upland birds of northeastern New Guinea. Wau Ecology
  Institute Handbook no. 4, Wau, Papua New Guinea.
Beehler, B.M., T.K. Pratt, and D.A. Zimmerman. 1986. Birds of New Guinea.
  Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
Coates, B.J. 1985. The birds of Papua New Guinea, including the Bismarck
  Archipelago and Bougainville. Vol. I. Non-passerines. Dove Publications,
  Alderley, Queensland, Australia.
Debus, S.J.S. 1994. Grey-headed Goshawk. P. 154 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.
Diamond, J.M. 1972. Avifauna of the Eastern Highlands of New Guinea.
  Publications of the Nuttall Ornithological Club no. 12, Cambridge, MA.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Harrison, C.J.O., and C.B. Frith. 1970. Nests and eggs of some New Guinea
  birds. Emu 70:173-178.
Mayr, E. 1957. Notes on the birds of northern Melanesia. 4. The genus
  Accipiter. American Museum Novitates no. 1823.
Mayr, E., and A.L. Rand. 1937. Results of the Archbold Expeditions. 14.
  Birds of the 1933-1934 Papuan expedition. Bulletin of the American Museum of
  Natural History 73:1-248.
Peckover, W.S., and L.W.C. Filewood. 1976. Birds of New Guinea and
  tropical Australia. A.H. & A.W. Reed, Sydney, Australia.
Rand, A.L., and E.T. Gilliard. 1967. Handbook of New Guinea birds.
  Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London.
van Balen, B.S. 1998. Tropical forest raptors in Indonesia: recent
  information on distribution, status, and conservation. Journal of Raptor
  Research 32:56-63.
Wattel, J. 1973. Geographical differentiation in the genus Accipiter.
  Nuttall Ornithological Club Publication no. 13.

Sites of Interest:
Grey-headed Goshawk photos.

Last modified: 5/15/2014

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2022. Species account: Grey-headed Goshawk Accipiter poliocephalus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 27 Jan. 2022

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