800px-Northern Goshawk ad M2
Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Accipitriformes
Family Accipitridae
Genus Accipiter

Accipiter is a genus of birds of prey in the Accipitridae family, many of which are named as goshawks and sparrowhawks (not to be confused with the American sparrowhawk, now more commonly known as the American kestrel, a type of falcon). They can be anatomically distinguished from their relatives by the lack of a procoracoid foramen. Two small and aberrant species usually placed here do possess a large procoracoid foramen and are also distinct as regards DNA sequence. They may warrant separation in the old genus Hieraspiza.

Extant accipiters range in size from the little sparrowhawk (Accipiter minullus), in which the smallest males measure 20 cm (7.9 in) long, span 39 cm (15 in) across the wings and weigh 68 g (2.4 oz), to the northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), in which the largest females measure 64 cm (25 in) long, span 127 cm (50 in) across the wings, and weigh 2,200 g (4.9 lb). These birds are slender with short, broad, rounded wings and a long tail which helps them maneuver in flight. They have long legs and long, sharp talons used to kill their prey, and a sharp, hooked bill used in feeding. Females tend to be larger than males. They often ambush their prey, mainly small birds and mammals, capturing them after a short chase. The typical flight pattern is a series of flaps followed by a short glide. They are commonly found in wooded or shrubby areas.


An Accipiter was seen on 12 March 1994 south of the summit of Camiguin in the Philippines, where the genus was not known to occur. It may have been an undescribed taxon, but more likely it was not; it could simply have been a vagrant of a known species.

Pied Goshawk (Gray, 1870) (Accipiter albogularis)
Shikra (Gmelin, 1788) (Accipiter badius)
Bicolored Hawk (Vieillot, 1817) (Accipiter bicolor)
 Chilean Hawk (Philippi & Landbeck, 1864) (Accipiter (bicolor) chilensis)
New Britain Sparrowhawk (Ramsay, 1879) (Accipiter brachyurus)
Levant Sparrowhawk (Severtzov, 1850) (Accipiter brevipes)
Nicobar Sparrowhawk (Gurney, 1898) (Accipiter butleri)
Chestnut-flanked Sparrowhawk (Bonaparte, 1853) (Accipiter castanilius)
Collared Sparrowhawk (Vieillot, 1817) (Accipiter cirrocephalus)
Semicollared Hawk (Sclater, 1860) (Accipiter collaris) (may belong in Hieraspiza)
Cooper's Hawk (Bonaparte, 1828) (Accipiter cooperii)
†Powerful Goshawk (Balouet & Olson, 1989) (Accipiter efficax)
Rufous-necked Sparrowhawk (Gray, 1861) (Accipiter erythrauchen)
Red-thighed Sparrowhawk (Hartlaub, 1855) (Accipiter erythropus)
Brown Goshawk (Vigors and Horsfield, 1827) (Accipiter fasciatus)
 Christmas Goshawk (Lister, 1889) (Accipiter (fasciatus) natalis)
Frances's Sparrowhawk (Smith, 1834) (Accipiter francesiae)
 Anjouan Sparrowhawk (Gurney, 1875) (Accipiter francesiae pusillus)
Northern Goshawk (Linnaeus, 1758) (Accipiter gentilis)
Sulawesi Goshawk (Kaup, 1848) (Accipiter griseiceps)
Japanese Sparrowhawk (Temminck & Schlegel, 1844) (Accipiter gularis)
Gundlach's Hawk (Lawrence, 1860) (Accipiter gundlachi)
White-bellied Goshawk (Sclater, 1859) (Accipiter haplochrous)
Moluccan Goshawk (Gray, 1860) (Accipiter henicogrammus)
Henst's Goshawk (Schlegel, 1873) (Accipiter henstii)
Variable Goshawk (Müller, 1841) (Accipiter hiogaster)
Imitator Goshawk (Hartert, 1926) (Accipiter imitator)
Slaty-mantled Goshawk (Rothschild & Hartert, 1926) (Accipiter luteoschistaceus)
Madagascan Sparrowhawk (Smith, 1834) (Accipiter madagascariensis)
Black-mantled Goshawk (Salvadori, 1875) (Accipiter melanochlamys)
Black Sparrowhawk (Smith, 1830) (Accipiter melanoleucus)
Meyer's Goshawk (Sharpe, 1878) (Accipiter meyerianus)
Little Sparrowhawk (Daudin, 1800) (Accipiter minullus)
Dwarf Sparrowhawk (Blasius, 1897) (Accipiter nanus)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Linnaeus, 1758) (Accipiter nisus)
Grey Goshawk (Gmelin, 1788) (Accipiter novaehollandiae)
Ovambo Sparrowhawk (Gurney, 1875) (Accipiter ovampensis)
Grey-headed Goshawk (Gray, 1858) (Accipiter poliocephalus)
Grey-bellied Hawk (Temminck, 1824) (Accipiter poliogaster)
New Britain Goshawk (Mayr, 1934) (Accipiter princeps)
†Gracile Goshawk (Balouet & Olson, 1989) (Accipiter quartus)
Vinous-breasted Sparrowhawk (Schlegel, 1862) (Accipiter rhodogaster)
Fiji Goshawk (Peale, 1848) (Accipiter rufitorques)
Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk (Smith, 1830) (Accipiter rufiventris)
Chinese Sparrowhawk (Horsfield, 1821) (Accipiter soloensis)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Vieillot, 1807) (Accipiter striatus)
 White-breasted Hawk (Accipiter striatus chionogaster)
 Rufous-thighed Hawk (Accipiter striatus erythronemius)
 Plain-breasted Hawk (Accipiter striatus ventralis)
Besra (Temminck, 1822) (Accipiter virgatus)
Tiny Hawk (Linnaeus, 1766) (Accipiter superciliosus) (may belong in Hieraspiza as Hieraspiza superciliosa)
Lesser Sundas Goshawk (Wallace, 1864) (Accipiter sylvestris)
African Goshawk (Daudin, 1800) (Accipiter tachiro)
Red-chested Goshawk (J. Verreaux, E. Verreaux, and Des Murs, 1855) (Accipiter toussenelii)
Spot-tailed Sparrowhawk (Bonaparte, 1850) (Accipiter trinotatus)
Crested Goshawk (Temminck, 1824) (Accipiter trivirgatus)
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