Perth Raptor Care

Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus

Adult female Brown Goshawk

Characteristics in Captivity

The Brown Goshawk is one of the 'true hawks' (accipiters). They are very instinctive birds, and react to any sudden movement or noise. If you move slowly, they can remain calm, but this is one of those species that really needs a tail sheath.

Goshawks also have lightning fast reflexes and a long reach. They can make you bleed without you seeing the offending foot move, having struck in the time it takes to blink. Despite that, they are not as aggressive when cornered as some falcons and eagles.

An endearing trait is that some will squeak at their food while eating. Getting them to self feed can be difficult, as unmoving food is foreign to them. Opening up the food animal to show red meat usually works. Take care when housing with conspecifics- females are much larger than males, and can make them into snacks.

Hunting Strategies

Stalking through foliage, low level flying and bush bashing (going through obstacles) are part of a hawk's repertoire of hunting styles. Many hawks are shot (illegally) every year because they find it hard to understand aviary wire- mistaking it for twigs that they should be able to fly through. Goshawks take a variety of animals up to the size of a small rabbit. Anything below this size that moves will be chased (other than small birds that can easily out-manoeuvre the hawk). Birds and mammals are often eaten, but reptiles and even fish are also caught.


It is easiest to start hawks on food that comes in packaging they are familiar with. This means brown fur or brown feathers. Once they get the hang of dead stuff, they can be fed a variety of captive foods. As they have a fairly high metabolism, you should supplement day old chicks with some richer (darker meat) foods like mouse or pigeon.
Adult female


Female : 440 - 790g. Male : 260 - 425g.

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