Birds | Raptors > Brown Goshawk | flight ◦

A medium-sized raptor (bird of prey), the Brown Goshawks (Accipiter fasciatus) are a wonderful bird to see in flight. Their flight is often characterised by frantic flapping, interspersed with short glides, often searching and hunting for prey.

Brown Goshawk (Accipiter fasciatus), Central Australia © Dorothy Latimer
Brown Goshawk (Accipiter fasciatus), Central Australia © Dorothy Latimer

It is a wonderful experience to be able to watch them up high, in full flight, gliding and turning through the air.

Looking up from below and depending on the time of day and light, they have lightly coloured pale to white thinly barred front (breast, belly, vent). The underwing shows brown and white coverts, and grey and white barred flight feathers. The tips of the primaries are dark-grey and the underside of the tail is barred grey. The colour of the bill is dark-grey, with a yellow base and the eyes, legs and feet are yellow.

Goshawks tend to look more ‘rakish’ at a distance, with the combination of the protruding head, the longer tapered wings and the long, rounded tail in silhouette presents an impression of a ‘flying crucifix’.

Goshawks seem to spend considerable time often perched among foliage of trees and shrubs. Whilst small birds may initially cause a commotion by sounding the alarm, the small birds doe eventually seem to forget about the goshawk, which is when the Goshawk will pounce on any unwary bird.


  • Scientific classification
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Genus: Accipiter
  • Species: A. fasciatus
  • Binomial name: Accipiter fasciatus