Brown Goshawk

Accipiter fasciatus

Brown Goshawk. Photo: Keith Williams

The Brown Goshawk is a robust predator of vertebrates, such as young rabbits and birds. Their prey is usually less than 500g but occasionally up to 1kg. They also take arthropods and carrion.

They breed as solitary pairs in spring and early summer. The nest is a platform of sticks; the clutch size is usually three eggs with an average of 1.6 to 1.7 surviving to fledging.

The species is partly migratory in the south, moving to northern areas of Australia in the winter months.


Goshawks and sparrowhawks can be distinguished from other raptors by their brown striped underparts. They have a grey head with yellow, staring eyes, a rufous collar and grey-brown upperparts. Goshawks can be told from sparrowhawks by their larger size (length 40-50 cm to the sparrowhawks 30-40 cm), prominent eye ridges giving them a fierce expression, sturdy legs compared to the spindly legs of sparrowhawk and equal length toes. The tail is long and rounded while that of the sparrowhawk is shorter and has a square end.

Where to find it

Look for goshawks in the canopy of eucalypts in drier woodlands and along inland watercourses.

Only the nominate subspecies A. f.  fasciatus is found in South Australia.