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Species Guide

Red Goshawk

Erythrotriorchis radiatus

The Red Goshawk, Erythrotriorchis radiatus, is a majestic bird of prey, cloaked in rufous plumage with a striking pattern of black and white streaking on its head. The face and throat are adorned with more white, while the upper surfaces of the body and wings bear black markings. Its flight feathers and tail exhibit a barred grey pattern, darker above and lighter below. The underside of this raptor is rufous with subtle black ticking. The female, distinguishable by her paler belly, and the male, with his brown to yellow irides, present a formidable appearance. The species is noted for its robust bill, heavy feet, and long, broad wings, which are fingered at the tips.

Identification Tips

Adult Red Goshawks have yellow irides, while juveniles display brown. The cere and skin surrounding the eye transition from pale blue in juveniles to pale grey in adults. Their legs and feet are yellow, shifting from pale grey or cream in their youth. The tail is square-tipped, comprising about half the bird's total length. In flight, they may appear leisurely or engage in powerful, energetic pursuits with deep, fluid wingbeats. Their size ranges from 45 to 60 cm in length, with a wingspan of 110 to 135 cm. Males typically weigh 635 g, while females range from 1100 to 1400 g.


The Red Goshawk favors the savanna woodlands of northern Australia, often found near watercourses.


This raptor is endemic to Australia, with important conservation sites identified in Far North Queensland, the Northern Territory's Kakadu Savanna and Tiwi Islands, and Western Australia's Kimberley region.


The Red Goshawk is a solitary and elusive bird, known for its stealthy hunting techniques. It builds its nest in the fork of a tall tree, creating a stick platform lined with green leaves.


Breeding season varies by region, with egg-laying occurring from May to October in the north and August to October in the east. Incubation lasts 40 days, followed by a nestling period of 51 to 53 days. Juveniles remain dependent for 2 to 3 months.

Diet and Feeding

This bird of prey primarily hunts birds, such as parrots and pigeons, but may also target mammals, reptiles, and large insects. It hunts from concealed perches or by soaring and gliding above the canopy.

Conservation status

The Red Goshawk is classified as Endangered, facing threats from habitat destruction due to land clearing for agriculture. Conservation efforts focus on protecting intact habitats and rehabilitating suitable areas to ensure the species' survival.

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Red Goshawks on Birda

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Bryn Pickering
30 Jul 2023 - 11:02am

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