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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons of North Dakota

JPG -- Picture of Species

Northern Goshawk
Accipiter gentilis

The northern goshawk is the largest and most aggressive accipiter in North America. The goshawk inhabits deep conifer dominated mixed woodlands in the western United States, Canada and Alaska. While goshawks do not breed in North Dakota, they are occasionally seen wintering in the state. This is due to a seasonal dispersal brought on by food shortages in their northem home range.

Northern goshawks are about the size of the red-tailed hawk, are uniformly slate gray in color, have a black crown, and a distinctive white line over each orange-red eye.

Northern goshawks are very efficient predators and prey upon large and medium-sized birds and mammals. They are capable of tremendous short bursts of speed. When flying through woodlands, they show perfect control of movement, weaving in and out among tree trunks by effectively using their long tail. Goshawks have been commonly used by falconers but are very difficult to train because of their aggressive behavior.

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