Astur palumbarius (Linn.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 130 (1766) ; (Naum.) i. p. 249, Taf. 17, 18 ; Hewitson, i. p. 34, pl. xi ; Gould, B. of E. i. pl. 17 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. i. pl. 10 ; Newton, i. p. 83 ; id. Ootheca Wolleyana, i. p. 73 ; Dresser, v. p. 587, pl. 354 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. i. p. 95 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iii. p. 397 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p. 98 ; Saunders, p. 331 ; Lilford, i. p. 59, pls. 28, 29.
Autour, French ; Acor, Portug. ; Azor, Span. ; Astore, Ital. ; Huhnerhabicht, German ; Havik, Dutch ; Duehog, Dan. and Norweg. ; Dufhuh, Swed. ; Koppelohaukka, Kyyhkyhaukka, Finn. ; Yastrebutnyatnik, Russ. ; L’Abli, Arab. ; el-Boz, Moor. ; Tartan, Pers. ; Jarra male, Baz female, Hindu. ; O-taka, Jap.
Male ad. (N. Russia). Upper parts dark ashy slate, blacker on the head, the nape marked with white ; quills dark brown tinged with ashy, obsoletely barred on the outer web, mottled with greyish white on the inner web ; tail ashy brown tipped with white, and with four dark brown bands ; a line above and a long patch behind the eye white ; under parts white, the throat indistinctly barred with grey and finely streaked with blackish ; rest of under parts except the under tail-coverts barred with slate- grey ; bill bluish horn ; cere greenish yellow ; leg yellow ; iris orange- yellow. Culmen 1.4. wing 13.0, tail 10.0, tarsus 3.1 inch. Female similar but larger, somewhat browner above, and more broadly barred below. The young bird is warm brown above, the head and nape with broad light reddish brown, the back and wings with narrow yellowish white margins ; quills and tail distinctly barred ; under parts buffy white striped with dark brown.
Hab. Europe generally, north as far as the forest extends ; of rare occurrence now in Great Britain ; North Africa in winter ; Asia generally, east to Japan, north to Kamchatka, south to the Himalayas, and northern China.
Is a bird of the forest and woodlands, and of the lowlands not occurring in the mountains. On the wing it is swift and active, and threads through the forest trees with ease, being able to overtake and capture pigeons as well as game birds. To poultry and game it is a veritable scourge. Its nest is placed on a tree, generally at a considerable altitude, and is constructed of sticks and twigs, lined with finer twigs, and sometimes garnished with fresh foliage. The eggs 3 to 4 in number are white with a faint blue-green tinge, occasionally faintly marked with colour, are laid in April or May, and measure about 2.43 by 1.80. Specimens from Asia, and espe¬cially from Kamchatka (A. candidissimus, Dyb.), are very pale and may almost be considered as a subspecies. In North America the Goshawk is replaced by Astur atricapillus (Wils.) which differs in having the under parts closely freckled, not barred or narrowly vermiculated with ashy brown. This species is said to have been once obtained in Scotland, and once in Ireland.
745. Astur palumbarius