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Birding Málaga


Common name Northern goshawk
Scientific name Accipiter gentilis
Type Forest birds
Status Resident

Medium-sized bird of prey (about 56 cm or 22 in) with an also medium wingspan (about 64 cm or 25 in). Dark grey upperparts. Breast, belly, throat and face with a thin transversal barring that extends to the lower part of the wings with a more lightened tone. White lower area of the tail. In females the back is more brownish and the barring is thicker. Very characteristic silhouette in flight. Short, wide and rounded wings. Long tail. Both sexes have a very marked eyebrow on the face. Yellow eyes, bill and legs, with naked tarsi. Females larger than males.


Woodland environment

Where it lives

Woodland species, very generalist in terms of the type of forest. Present both in pine forests and in masses of oak or deciduous forests. Also in meadows, forests, islands, groves and mixed landscapes with trees.

How it lives

Species resident in the province all year round. The Northern Goshawk begins breeding at the end of winter with spectacular courtships that involve acrobatic flights above the forest roof. It makes one annual laying of 3 to 4 eggs. Nest in trees, usually re-using those of other birds. This raptor captures all types of prey, especially medium-sized forest birds (corvids, pigeons) and mammals such as rabbits or hares.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Bird present in the majority of forests of Malaga. It can be seen in those of the Genal Valley, Montejaque, Cortes, in the Montes de Málaga; in coastal mountain ranges such as Bermeja, Blanca, Palmitera, Real, Alpujata and Mijas; or in inland mountain ranges such as Camarolos, Ortegícar or La Camorra (Alameda-Mollina). In the Great Path it is present, among others, in stages 6, 12, 23, 25, 27, 28, 31 and 33.

Curious facts

The Northern Goshawk is a gentle or noble "hawk" ("accipiter") which paradoxically has a very aggressive behaviour, and because of this fact it was very used in falconry during the middle ages. In fact, its Spanish name “azor” derives from a Latin term that refers to its great ability to "receive and swallow" prey, that is, to its effectiveness in capturing them. Its extraordinary hunting capacity is joined by its agility and skill to move through the forest. It is one of the few predators capable of capturing squirrels in a forest.

Similar birds
Wintering Summer Resident Migration