Red Goshawk  |  

Erythrotriorchis radiatus

Status: Vulnerable on the EPBC Act list

The Red Goshawk is a large, swift and powerful rufous-brown hawk, growing to a length of 45–60 cm, with a wingspan of 100–135 cm. The two sexes of this species are quite different in size and appearance. The females weigh approximately 1.1 kg, the males approximately 0.63 kg. The Red Goshawk is boldly mottled and streaked, with rufous scalloping on the back and upper wings, rufous underparts that are brightest and lack streaking on the thighs, and with massive yellowish legs and feet, and boldly barred underwings. Females are larger, more powerfully built, paler and more heavily streaked below, showing some white on the under body. Juveniles have redder upperparts, and the head and underparts are rich rufous with fine dark streaks. The juvenile’s rufous head distinguishes it from adults. The Red Goshawk can further be distinguished from other similar raptors by its broad ‘six-fingered’ wings that are held at slightly angled planes when soaring, the lack of pale markings on upperparts, the heavy and dark streaking on the head and chest, the flat head, the deep bill (female), the broad deep chest, and the long tail which is square-tipped to slightly rounded at the tip. No geographical variation has been observed in Red Goshawk morphology. The Red Goshawk is solitary and very thinly dispersed. It is usually observed singly, and occasionally in pairs or family groups. Red Goshawk pairs are believed to remain within the nesting territory all year, but some may expand their home range when not breeding. In the southeast of their range it has been suggested that adults may migrate from the ranges to lowland winter territories. Occasional records of individuals hundreds of kilometres from the known breeding range suggest juvenile dispersal from their natal territories may be extensive.

Government evidence of impact of climate change:

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  • Australian Government, Conservation Advice, Erythrotriorchis radiatus

    Reduced fire frequencies leading to vegetation thickening and a reduction in habitat suitability may also be a threat (Red Goshawk Recovery Team; 2015).
    Declines in abundance of the key prey species caused by the loss or degradation of freshwater wetlands; loss of hollow bearing trees in which prey breed; over grazing by livestock and feral herbivores; and altered fire regimes (including both increased and decreased fire frequencies) may also be impacting on the species long term viability (Czechura Hobson; 2000 Franklin et al.; 2005 Czechura et al.; 2011).