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Accipiter gentilis

Classe: Uccelli (Aves)

Dimensions: length 50-60 cm, wingspan 100-120 cm

Life: 20 years

Habitat: forests rich in clearings, or on the border of open spaces, preferably between 800 and 1,800 meters

Diet: it mainly feeds on other birds (Crows, Alpine Choughs, Woodpeckers, Blackbirds, and sometimes even Capercaillies) and small mammals (mice, squirrels, and hares)

Reproduction: the pair builds a branch nest on a high tree. The nest will be used also in the following years. In April the female lays from one to five eggs, according to the availability of food, and hatches them for about 35 days

Cubs: initially they must be fed by the mother, while the father goes hunting for the whole family. When they learn to fly (July-August) they leave the nest, but are still fed by their parents for a month. During this time they become independent

Curiosities: this raptor loves to spend a lot of time (even one hour) bathing in water

Notes: the Goshawk hunts by lying in ambush: it lies in wait on a high branch, waiting to see a prey moving; then, with a low-level flight, hidden among trees and shrubs, it gets close to the prey as much as possible and then attacks. It chases the prey with extraordinary agility, thanks to its powerful wings and using its tail as a helm

In the Park: Monti del Sole, Valleys of Pramper, Vescovà, dei Ross, Campotorondo, Ardo. Not very widespread, after the reproduction season it can be observed also at considerable high altitudes, above the limits of the arboreal vegetation

(photo by Michele Mendi)
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