Thursday, 27 March 2014

Red goshawk

Erythrotriorchis radiatus

Photo by Patrick Ingremeau (PBase)

Common name:
red goshawk (en); açor-vermelho (pt); autour rouge (fr); azor rojo (es); fuchshabicht (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Falconiformes
Family Accipitridae

Range:
This species is endemic to Australia, being sparsely distributed in the northern and north-eastern parts of the country, from western Kimberley Division to north-eastern New South Wales. There are also some records in central Australia probably referring to dispersive individuals.

Size:
These birds are 45-60 cm long and have a wingspan of 100-135 cm. The females are larger, weighing around 1,1 kg while the males weigh around 630 g.

Habitat:
The red goshawk is found in coastal and sub-coastal forests, including  moist tropical forests, temperate forests, riverine forests, swamp forests and dry savannas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.000 m.

Diet:
They hunt mainly birds, particularly parrots, passerines, kookaburras, pigeons and cuckoos, but occasionally also larger prey such as ducks, herons and megapodes. Mammals, reptiles and insects are rarely taken.

Breeding:
Red goshawks breed in My-December. They are probably monogamous and breed in solitary pairs. The nest is a large structure made of dead sticks with a saucer-shaped hollow top, thickly lined with finer twigs and green eucalyptus leaves. It is placed on an exposed fork in a tall tree, 15-30 m above the ground, and within 1 km of a watercourse or wetland. The female lays 1-2 eggs, which she incubates alone for 39-43 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 51-53 days after hatching, but continue to be receive food from the parents for another 70–80 days.

Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a very large breeding range, but the global population is estimated at just 1.000-1.400 individuals. The population may be declining owing to habitat loss in at least eastern Queensland, but the rate of decline is not suspected to be rapid. Historical declines n this species were possibly caused by widespread clearance for agriculture, a problem still affecting the more northern populations. Other threats include egg collecting, forest fires, shooting, pesticide abuse and reduced prey abun­dance caused by loss or degradation of freshwa­ter wetlands, loss of hollow-bearing trees in which prey breed, over-grazing by livestock and feral herbivores, and changed fire regimes.

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