Habitat: Found in most forest types, especially tall closed forests, including rainforests

Distribution: Coasts of northern, eastern and south-eastern AustraliaTasmania and rarely Western Australia

Lifespan: 7-10 years

Conservation status: Listed as endangered in Tasmania, Victoria (Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988) and South Australia

Main threats: Habitat loss due to logging and clearing for agriculture and human settlement, high-intensity wildfires, hunting, and direct and secondary poisoning 


The Grey Goshawk (Accipiter novaehollandiae) is a medium-sized raptor that has two colour morphs (forms). 

The grey morph has a grey plumage on the head and back, while its underside is white with grey bands across the chest. Its rounded wings show a grey top and a white underside with darker tips. Similarly, its tail is grey on top and white underneath, with grey bands. 

The white morph is entirely white, earning it the moniker, white goshawk. Both morphs share common features such as deep red eyes, yellow-hued legs and talons.

The grey goshawk holds the title as the largest member of the Accipiter genus in Australia, measuring an overall length of 40 to 55 centimetres and boasting a wingspan ranging from 70 to 110 centimetres. Notably, the female grey goshawk tips the scales at nearly double the weight of its male counterpart.

Fun fact: The grey goshawk endemic to, and found only in, Australia.


The grey goshawk hunts a variety of animals including birds, small mammals, reptiles, and insects. It seizes its prey using its long, powerful talons. This raptor engages in high-speed aerial pursuits to catch its prey, and it is even known to follow its target into thick vegetation. It may also employ stealth and the element of surprise to capture birds, such as the non-native common starling. 

Grey goshawks form permanent pairs, defending a home territory throughout the year and breeding from July to December. The grey and white colour morphs interbreed freely.

Both sexes build a leaf-lined stick nest situated high in a tree fork to receive the morning sun and shelter from strong winds. The nests are largely confined to wet forested areas. The female does most of the incubation, but the male steps in during her feeding times and hunts most of the food for the young, which the female shreds for them to eat.

Two to four eggs are laid in the nest. The same nest may be used for several years. The eggs are incubated for about 35 days and chicks are fledged in about 35 days. For the initial 2-3 weeks after fledging, the young stay fairly close to the nest, relying solely on their parents for food as they learn to hunt and survive on their own.

A connected rainforest habitat is important to the long-term survival of species like the grey goshawk. Find out how we're working on that. 


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