The goshawk prefers to live in old and quiet mixed forests and conifer forests. It builds several twig nests, and uses each in different year. The day-active goshawk is a very skilled hunter. Its technique is based on attacking the prey by surprise. As a skilled flier, it swerves in the cover of vegetation to get closer to the prey before striking. The prey consists of small mammals and small and mid-size birds. The goshawk’s breeding range reaches from the Western Europe through Russia to the shores of the Pacific and all the way to Japan. It also nests 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 trees, 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 living furthest up in the North may though migrate further down to the South, in search for better lighting for hunting food in the winter.


Accipiter gentilis




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