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The goshawk prefers to live in old and quiet mixed forests and conifer forests. They build several twig nests, and use each nest a different year. The day-active goshawk is a very skilled hunter. Their technique is based on attacking the prey by surprise. As a proficient flier, they swerve in the cover of vegetation to get closer to the prey before striking. The prey consists of small mammals and small to mid-size birds. The goshawk’s breeding range reaches from Western Europe through Russia to the shores of the Pacific and all the way to Japan. They also nest in Northern America. In Finland, goshawks can be found throughout the country.


The goshawk is a thriving species globally. The goshawk has been persecuted, as hunters have experienced the goshawk as a rival. Before the goshawk became a protected species, in 1989, thousands of goshawks were killed annually in Finland. The illegal harassment of the nesting and the downright killing of the goshawk can still be detected even today in some parts of Finland. The actions of the modern forestry in Finland nowadays pose a special threat to the goshawk species: forests are being split up, and thick-branch nesting tree ideal for the goshawk are disappearing.


Old goshawks are non-migratory. The young ones, on the other hand, migrate away from the North for the winter. Goshawks that live the furthest up North may migrate further down to the South in search for better lighting to hunt food in the winter.


Accipiter gentilis

Class: Aves – Birds

Order: Accipitriformes – Diurnal Birds Of Prey

Family: Accipitridae – Hawks And Eagles

Size: Weight: 500-2000g, wingspan: 100-120cm, females larger than males.

Breeding: The female goshawk lays 3-4 eggs at the end of April, incubation period 35-42 days and nights.

Lifespan: According to ringing data, the oldest goshawk has lived to 19 years of age.

Did you know…

Did you know that the hatred towards goshawks has affected other hawk species as well? Hawks have been shot, and nests have been destroyed without defining the particular species. The goshawk is the latest protected species within our birds of prey, and this law will simultaneously protect other birds of prey as well.