Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Grey-headed Goshawk (Accipiter poliocephalus)


French: Autour à tête grise German: Aschkopfhabicht Spanish: Gavilán cabecigrís

Accipiter poliocephalus

G. R. Gray

, 1858,

Aru Islands


Thought to be closely related to A. princeps, with which has been considered conspecific. Monotypic.


W Papuan Is and Aru Is through New Guinea to D’Entrecasteaux Is (Goodenough, Fergusson, Normanby) and Louisiade Archipelago (Misima, Tagula).

Descriptive notes

30–38 cm; male 180–283 g, larger female 225–380 g; wingspan 56–65 cm. Medium-sized Accipiter, with slate-grey upperparts (paler on head and... read more


Very poorly known. A series of thin, high-pitched, upslurred whistles lasting 2·5–3... read more


Tropical rainforest (though stated to be rarer in primary forest), gallery forest, secondary growth... read more

Food and feeding

Poorly known. Mostly lizards; also small snakes, insects and other arthropods. Attacks small birds caught in mist nets. Forages by still-... read more


Incubation observed at one nest late Aug/early Sept; egg near hatching collected from another nest in Dec. Solitary. Nest is relatively... read more


Unknown; no records outside normal range.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Fairly common and widespread throughout lowlands and hills of mainland New Guinea, including vicinity of native cultivation... read more

Recommended citation

Debus, S. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Grey-headed Goshawk (Accipiter poliocephalus). 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 24 January 2020).