Birds of the Redlands - Grey goshawk

Photo: Erica Siegel

Scientific name: Accipiter novaehollandiae

Other names: Variable Goshawk


  • Queensland: Least concern (NCA 1992)

What does it look like?

The grey goshawk is a medium-sized raptor bird with two distinctive forms: white and grey. The grey goshawk mainly inhabits the north-east of Australia and the white goshawk is mainly found in the eucalypt forests of Tasmania and along south eastern and northwestern Australia. Both specimens have dark red eyes and yellow legs and feet. The wing, head and tail have white-to-grey hues.

The grey specimens often have grey hues on top and white underparts, while white specimens are pure white all over. The female goshawk is slightly larger than the male.

Where are they found?

Grey goshawks are territorial, monogamous birds that form permanent pairs. They often nest in upper tree forks and build nests from sticks. This goshawk can be found in most forests types, however it prefers larger parts of tall closed forests.

The grey goshawk feeds on birds, small mammals, reptiles and insects and requires a large hunting area to survive.

What is threatening them?

  • Increasing deforestation and land clearing
  • Reduction of forest fragments within urban zones
  • Loss of key prey species.


The grey goshawk is protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. It is an offence to damage or interfere with the grey goshawk in any other way than when accepted by the Act.

Redland City Council manages environmental pests throughout the Redlands to minimise their impact on native ecosystems and birds such as the grey goshawk.

Did you know…? 

This species is also known as the Variable Goshawk due to its range of size and colour.

The closest species related to the grey goshawk is the similar-sized female Brown Goshawk (accipiter fasciatus). These two species occupy the same areas and have been known to cross-breed.

How you can help

Work with council if you reside in identified habitat areas suitable for the grey goshawk to protect and maintain these habitats. If you have seen or suspect a grey goshawk at any location, please report it to IndigiScapes on (07) 3824 8611.