1243. Astur palumbarius

1243. Astur palumbarius.

The Goshawk.

Falco palumbarius, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 130 (1766). Astur palumbarius, Cuv. Regne An. i, p. 320; Blyth, Cat. p. 23; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 41; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 45; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. 2, p. 13; Hume, Rough Notes, p. 112 ; id. N. & E. p. 24; id. Cat. no. 21; id. S. F. xi, p. 6; Jerdon, His, 1871, p. 243; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. i, p. 95 ; Gurney, Ibis, 1875, p. 353 ; Biddulph, His, 1881, p. 40; Scully, ibid. p. 419; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 118.

Baz , Jarra , H.

Coloration. In adult birds the upper parts are brown, with a more or less ashy tint, occasionally almost ashy grey ; the crown, area behind eye, ear-coverts, and sides of neck darker, sometimes almost black; forehead, lores, long supercilia, and nuchal patch uniting them behind streaked and mixed with white ; quills brown above, whitish below, with dark bars; tail light brown or brown mottled with white above, paler below, crossed by four broad dark brown bars and tipped buffy white; lower parts white, with blackish shafts and brown bars, which become narrower and more numerous in older birds; lower tail-coverts white unbarred.

Young birds are brown above, most of the feathers edged or tipped with buffy white ; crown, nape, and hind-neck with broad buff or pale rufous edges ; quills as in the adult, but with the barring more distinct above; tail with 5 dark cross-bars and tipped with buff; lower parts buff or pale rufous, with brown longitudinal oval spots, each having a black shaft-line in the middle. Nestlings are covered with pure white down.

Length of female 24 ; tail 11; wing 14 ; tarsus 3-3: of a male— length 20; tail 9.5; wing 12.5; tarsus 3.2.

Bill bluish horny; cere yellow, with a greenish tinge; iris and legs yellow.

Distribution. Europe generally; Northern and Central Asia. The Goshawk is found throughout the Himalayas, but not at low elevations except occasionally in winter. Hume obtained a specimen from the Khasi hills. Jerdon thought he had seen this bird on the Nilgiris, but it has not since been observed there or elsewhere in the Indian Peninsula.

Habits, &c. The Goshawk keeps to woods, and preys on pheasants, partridges, pigeons, and other birds and on small mammals. It breeds on trees in the Himalayas from March till June, making a large circular nest of coarse twigs, and laying 3 or 4 eggs, usually nearly pure white, but occasionally spotted or blotched.

The hen Goshawk is the favourite Hawk for sporting in India; many are brought from the Himalayas and Central Asia and trained to strike Houbara bustard, duck, bares, and sometimes partridges. It is flown from the hand, and flies directly at the quarry.

The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
Blanford, William Thomas, ed. The Fauna of British India: Including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.3 1895.
Title in Book: 
1243. Astur palumbarius
Book Author: 
William Thomas Blanford
Page No: 
Common name: 
Northern Goshawk
Accipiter gentilis
Vol. 3
Term name: 

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