The northern Goshawk is the largest of the Accipiters, being 21 to 26 inches long and having a wingspan of 40 to 47 inches. The adults are identifiable by their gray and blue body, dark head cap and the white line above the eye. Their eyes are red, and has a black stripe running from the eye to the back of the head. The tail is blue barred black, and the underside is white streaked black and gray. The neck is also white, with some small black markings. Immatures are brown bodied and capped, with white undersides streaked brown. The white stripe above the eye is faint. Their eyes are yellow. The female is larger than the male, as it is with most raptors. Mature plumage is not reached until the third year. Notes- Reverse Sexual Dimorphism
The Northern Goshawk is distributed throughout the northern hemisphere temperate zone. In North America it is found in Alaska, throughout Canada and the Northern US, as well as the Western US. They may winter in the Great Lakes and parts of the Great Plains. They prefer mountains, forests, and lowlands. Nests are built in the forest, usually coniferous. The male builds a nest of twigs 20-60 ft. above the ground. They lay 2-5 eggs and incubate them for 36-38 days by the female. The goshawks fiercely defend their nest. Food is delivered by the male but the female feeds it to the young. The young are ready to fly in 45 days.
The Goshawk eats small to fairly large birds, rodents, and other small mammals. They do not obtain food from dives like falcons, but generally takes prey with a quick strike from cover. Once they were bounty hunted because they were thought to kill game birds, but they are now protected federally in the U.S.