The northern goshawk takes a variety of small and medium-sized birds and mammals, up to the size of a grouse or hare (2). It usually hunts from a well-concealed perch, remaining briefly at one spot before making a short flight to another; although it may also make survey flights along forest edges and over clearings. Once prey is spotted, the northern goshawk swoops down, sometimes crashing through vegetation, before driving its talons into its victim and killing it with a kneading motion (2) (4).
The northern goshawk is not a social species, and during the breeding season the nests of breeding pairs are usually found over one kilometre apart. Between April and early May, the female lays a clutch of one to five eggs in a nest of sticks lined with twigs and leaves, situated high in a tree. The eggs are incubated by the female for 35 to 38 days, while the male supplies food (2). Once hatched, the male continues to provide food, while the female defends the nest aggressively, even attacking approaching humans (2) (4). Fledging occurs after around 34 to 41 days, but the young do not become independent until 70 to 90 days old. The northern goshawk usually reaches sexual maturity at two to three years of age, and has been known to live for up to 19 years (2).