Red Goshawk

© Brad Leue/AWC

Quick Facts

  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Erythrotriorchis radiatus
  • FAMILY: Accipitridae
  • CONSERVATION STATUS: National conservation status: Vulnerable State conservation status: Critically endangered in NSW, Endangered in QLD, Vulnerable in NT, Vulnerable in WA
  • SURVIVING POPULATION: The 2012 recovery plan estimates the number of breeding pairs as 700. However, recent evidence strongly suggests that the actual population size could be much lower than this
What Is Awc Doing John Young Red Goshawk © John Young/AWC

What is AWC doing?

AWC implements land management practices suitable to sustain suitable nesting trees and habitat for red goshawks on its sanctuaries, including mosaic burns designed to reduce extensive wild fires. AWC is currently undertaking research in collaboration with Rio Tinto, the Department of Environment and Science and the University of Queensland aimed at improving our knowledge of the Red Goshawks ecology by tracking the movements of birds using GPS tracking devices. This research will improve AWC’s ability to manage suitable habitat on its sanctuaries and allow the implementation of more effective management to conserve them across their range.

Threats To Wildlife Brad Leue Red Goshawk © Brad Leue/AWC

Threats to the Species

Red Goshawks need large areas of intact woodland with sufficiently abundant prey. Across much of its range, the key threats are habitat clearance and altered fire regimes which change the structure of woodlands, destroy nesting trees and/or reduce breeding success (nests can be abandoned after a hot fire), and reduce the availability of prey species. The effect of feral animals may compound these impacts. There is evidence that many historic nesting sites in Queensland are no longer occupied.

Description of the species

The Red Goshawk is a strikingly powerful rufous red hawk with massive yellow feet, and talons designed to quickly subdue its avian prey.

Ecology of the species

Red Goshawks prefer extensive areas of intact, tall open woodland, that allows them to hunt under the canopy. Nest sites are often located high in a large tree along a ridgeline close to permanent water. Preferred prey includes lorikeets, but they will also hunt birds as large as Kookaburras, Currawong and Cockatoos.

Range and Abundance of the species

The Red Goshawk occurs across much of northern Australia, notably in the Kimberley, the Top End, Tiwi Islands and Cape York. Once found down the east coast as far as Sydney, it is now functionally extinct in northern NSW and appears to have been lost from most of its former range south of Cape York.

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