Red goshawk (Erythrotriorchis radiatus)

loading
Red goshawk with kookaburra prey, perched on branch
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Red goshawk fact file

Red goshawk description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderFalconiformes
FamilyAccipitridae
GenusErythrotriorchis (1)

The large and powerful red goshawk is one of Australia’s rarest birds of prey (4) (5). The reddish-brown body is streaked with black, the tail is grey and barred, and the wings are long and broad (5) (6). The female is much larger and more robustly built than the male (2), with a paler plumage that is more heavily streaked with black. Juveniles have a reddish-brown head instead of the pale-coloured head of the adult (7), and lighter plumage elsewhere (5). Although usually a quiet bird, it has been known to emit distinctive noisy shrieks and cackles (2).

Spanish
Azor Rojo.
Size
Length: 40 - 60 cm (2)
Wing span: 110 - 135 cm(2)
Male weight: 0.64 kg (2)
Female weight: 1.1 kg (2)
Top

Red goshawk biology

The enormous home range of the red goshawk extends from 50 to 220 km² (6). Hunting occurs in open forest during the day (8), with prey consisting mainly of large birds but also including mammals, reptiles and insects (6) (7). Although prey is usually taken from the ground, the red goshawk is fast enough to catch birds in flight, seizing prey with its powerful talons (5).

Breeding pairs build a stick nest in tall trees close to water. Females lay one or two blue-white eggs between August and September, which they incubate while the male hunts for food. After five to six weeks the eggs hatch and the female continues to shelter the young, while the male provides food for the female and nestlings (2). The young do not become fully independent until 17 to 18 weeks (6).

Top

Red goshawk range

Endemic to Australia, the red goshawk is sparsely distributed (7) from north Western Australia through the Northern Territories and Queensland to northern New South Wales (5). Sightings have also been reported in central Australia (7).

Top

Red goshawk habitat

Found in coastal and sub-coastal areas with tall open forest, woodland, lightly treed savannah and at the edge of rainforest (7). However, the breeding habitat is much more specific, with nesting only occurring in very tall trees, close to water (3) (4).

Top

Red goshawk status

The red goshawk is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1), and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Near Threatened

Top

Red goshawk threats

The red goshawk is threatened by deforestation, illegal shooting, egg-collection and the use of agricultural chemicals (3) (6), with the total population estimated to be fewer than 1000 individuals (4).

Populations in New South Wales and southern Queensland have declined drastically as habitat has been cleared for urban development, agriculture and forestry, reducing the availability of both nesting trees and prey (6). The fragmentation of forest habitat also exposes red goshawk nests, making them more vulnerable to storm damage (7). Ongoing vegetation clearance for sugar cane plantations in northern Queensland is predicted to cause further declines in red goshawk numbers (4).

Illegal shooting by pigeon and poultry owners sometimes occurs when red goshawk nest too close to their farms, which, combined with possible mortality from farm pesticides, may result in local scarcity (7).

Top

Red goshawk conservation

Although the red goshawk’s population is small, recent surveys indicate that it is larger than originally thought and may not be currently declining. This species has therefore been down-listed from Endangered in 1996 to Vulnerable in 2000 and then to Near Threatened in 2012 on the IUCN Red List (3). The red goshawk is fully protected in Australia (2), and its international trade is regulated by its listing under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (3). Populations are found in five conservation reserves (2) and various nest sites are being monitored to determine breeding success and to prevent disturbance (6). The locations of these nest sites are being kept confidential to further protect the breeding pairs and their young (6). Future conservation efforts need to focus on educating and developing management protocols with landowners, and maintaining habitat within the range of known breeding pairs (7).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
Top

Find out more

For further information on the red goshawk see:

Top

Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

Top

Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Top

References

  1. IUCN Red List (August, 2012)
    http://www.redlist.org
  2. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service - Endangered Species Profile (November, 2005)
    http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/PDFs/tsprofile_red_goshawk.pdf
  3. CITES (November, 2005)
    http://www.cites.org
  4. Birds Australia (November, 2005)
    http://www.birdsaustralia.com.au/birds/redgoshawk.html
  5. Hawk Conservancy (November, 2005)
    http://www.hawk-conservancy.org/priors/redgoshawk.shtml
  6. Queensland Government, Environmental Protection Agency (November, 2005)
    http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/nature_conservation/wildlife/endangered_animals/red_goshawk
  7. BirdLife International (November, 2005)
    http://www.birdlife.org
  8. Mooney, N. (1998) Status and conservation of raptors in Australia's tropics. Journal of Raptor Research, 32: 64 - 73.
X
Close

Image credit

Red goshawk with kookaburra prey, perched on branch  
Red goshawk with kookaburra prey, perched on branch

© John Augusteyn

John Augusteyn
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service
PO Box 3130
Rockhampton Shopping Fair
QLD
4701
Australia
john.augusteyn@epa.qld.gov.au

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Red goshawk (Erythrotriorchis radiatus) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog RSS