(1800) Astur gentilis gentilis.
Falco gentilis Linn., Syst. Nat., 10th ed. i, p. 89 (1758) (Dalecar-lian Alps). Astur palumbarius. Blanf. & Oates, iii, p. 397 (part.).
Vernacular names. Baz ,Jarra (Hind.).
Description. Edge of forehead, lores and supercilium white streaked with blackish : crown, sides of head and neck and nape ashy-black, the last much mottled with white where the white bases of the dark feathers show through ; upper plumage ashy-brown ; quills browner, the under surface whiter and the inner webs mottled with white and barred with darker brown bars, obsolete on the inner secondaries; tail dark ashy-brown, the central feathers with dark patches in the middle and the outer feathers mottled with white and with dark brown bars on the inner webs ; below pure white with narrow dark brown bars, the feathers of the chin, throat and breast dark-shafted.
Colours of soft parts. Iris golden-yellow ; bill dark plumbeous-slate, paler at the base and often yellow on the gape ; cere yellow, greenish above ; legs and feet yellow, claws black.
Measurements. , wing 305 to 330 mm. ; tail 210 to 230 mm.; tarsus 70 to 78 mm.; culmen 21 to 24 mm. wing 340 to 375 mm. (Witherby.)
Young birds have the upper parts light brown, each feather edged with whitish; the crown, neck and sides of the head with broad white or pale buff edges, making these parts much paler than the back; tail pale mottled brown with four or five broad bands of dark brown, edged whitish ; wing-quills more barred than m the adults, the bars extending also to the outer webs ; below pale buff or pale rufous boldly streaked throughout with dark brown.
Distribution. Europe to Western Siberia, Asia Minor and Palestine. In Winter South to Northern Africa and into the North-Western Himalayas.
Nidification. In Europe the Goshawk builds its own nest high up on trees, adding to it every year so that it eventually becomes an immense affair. It is built entirely of sticks, some small and some very large and is lined and edged with smaller twigs. The eggs, two to four in number, rarely five, are white or bluish-white, very rarely faintly marked with blotches of pale reddish. One hundred eggs average 58.0 x 45.2 mm. (Witherby). The breeding-season is April and May but D. Meinertzhagen took fresh eggs as late as the middle of June in Finland.
Habits. The Goshawk is a bird of forests and well-wooded districts, of powerful flight and great courage. It feeds on hares, rabbits, squirrels, game-birds of all kinds, as well as on rats, mice and small birds. It watches for its game from a fixed perch, whence it launches forth on its prey. Its call is a loud squeal or scream and it also has a short quick note which Hartert syllabifies as " gyak, gyak, gyak."