The northern goshawk (Old English: gōsheafoc, “goose-hawk”), Accipiter gentilis, is a medium-large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes other diurnal raptors, such as eagles, buzzards and harriers. As a species in the Accipite genus, the goshawk is often considered a true “hawk”.
The northern goshawk is the largest member of the genus Accipiter. It is a raptor with short, broad wings and a long tail, both adaptations to manoeuvring within its forest habitat. Across most of the species’ range, it is blue-grey above and barred grey or white below, but Asian subspecies in particular range from nearly white overall to nearly black above. The juvenile is brown above and barred brown below. Juveniles and adults have a barred tail, with dark brown or black barring. Adults always have a white eye stripe. In North America, juveniles have pale-yellow eyes, and adults develop dark red eyes usually after their second year, although nutrition and genetics may affect eye color as well. In Europe and Asia, juveniles also have pale-yellow eyes while adults develop orange-colored eyes.