Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Brown Goshawk (Accipiter fasciatus)


French: Autour australien German: Bänderhabicht Spanish: Azor australiano
Other common names: Australasian Goshawk

Astur fasciatus

Vigors and Horsfield

, 1827,

New South Wales, Australia


Recent phylogenetic analyses suggested that this species forms a monophyletic group with A. gularis and A. virgatus, this group being close to A. cirrocephalus#R. Has hybridized with A. novaehollandiae#R. Race natalis may belong to A. novaehollandiae complex (treated as race of A. hiogaster in recent monograph#R), or may even be separate species. Birds of Buru (S Moluccas) traditionally separated as race buruensis, but identical to N Australian didimus; status remains uncertain, as Buru individuals could refer to migrants of didimus or represent a resident form. Eleven subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. f. natalis (Lister, 1889) – Christmas I (S of Java, in Indian Ocean).
  • A. f. stresemanni Rensch, 1931 – islets between Sulawesi and Lesser Sundas.
  • A. f. wallacii (Sharpe, 1874) – Lesser Sundas from Lombok E to Babar.
  • A. f. tjendanae Stresemann, 1925 – Sumba (SW Lesser Sundas).
  • A. f. savu Mayr, 1941 – Sawu (S Lesser Sundas).
  • A. f. hellmayri Stresemann, 1922 – Timor, Semau, Roti and possibly Alor (C Lesser Sundas).
  • A. f. polycryptus Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1915 – N & E New Guinea (E from R Sepik basin).
  • A. f. dogwa Rand, 1941 – S New Guinea (Trans-Fly region).
  • A. f. didimus (Mathews, 1912) – Buru (S Moluccas) and N Australia.
  • A. f. fasciatus (Vigors & Horsfield, 1827) – Australia (except N) and Tasmania; Bellona and Rennell (S Solomons); also recorded on Timor (presumably non-breeding).
  • A. f. vigilax (Wetmore, 1926) – Vanuatu (Efate, Tanna, Anatom), New Caledonia, Loyalty Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    Nominate race: 40–55 cm; male 250–415 g, much larger female 440–740 g; wingspan 74–96 cm. Tropical races smaller: didimus 37–46 cm;... read more


    Main call a fast series of some 10–20 piercing yelping whistles, “ki-ki-ki-ki…”, delivered at rate... read more


    Forest, woodland and scrub, farmland with many trees and urban areas; from sea level up to 1500 m.... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods; occasionally carrion. Mostly birds and young rabbits in S, lizards in tropics. Wide... read more


    Sept–Dec; nestlings in late Apr on Sumbawa (Lesser Sundas). Solitary. Platform of sticks 38–70 cm wide, 18–30 cm deep,... read more


    Nominate race partly migratory over most of range: juveniles and some adults (particularly females... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Common and widespread; local declines in S Australia where habitat clearance extensive, but species has benefited from... read more

    Recommended citation

    Debus, S., Marks, J.S. & Boesman, P. (2020). Brown Goshawk (Accipiter fasciatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 27 February 2020).