Species Profile

Northern Goshawk laingi subspecies

Scientific Name: Accipiter gentilis laingi
Other/Previous Names: Queen Charlotte Goshawk
Taxonomy Group: Birds
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2013
COSEWIC Status: Threatened
COSEWIC Status Criteria: C2a(ii)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: Over half of the global range of this subspecies occurs in coastal British Columbia, where it favours mature coniferous forest. This non-migratory bird needs a relatively large home range that contains a good food supply. Despite some recent habitat protection efforts, continuing habitat loss is predicted, in part because of anticipated short rotation times in forest harvest. On Haida Gwaii, populations are very low and face an added risk from declines of prey species due to forest understory losses associated with high levels of browsing from an introduced population of deer.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Special Concern in April 1995. Status re-examined and designated Threatened in November 2000 and May 2013.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Threatened
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2003-06-05

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Northern Goshawk laingi subspecies

Northern Goshawk laingi subspecies Photo 1

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Description

The Northern Goshawk laingi subspecies is a medium-sized raptor, with broad, short wings and a long tail. Females are larger than the males. Its upperparts are medium to dark grey in colour and often appear slate bluish. There is a bold white supercilliary stripe above the red eyes, and a blackish-grey, sometimes mottled-white, mask. The top of its head is blackish-slate in colour and the bill is blackish-blue. The bird’s underparts are white to pale grey, with fine medium-grey streaks. Three or four dark grey bars cross the somewhat rounded tail and its under-tail coverts are a conspicuous white. The species’ talons are black and its legs and feet are yellow. Immature Northern Goshawk laingi subspecies have dusky brown upperparts mixed with buff. The three subspecies of Northern Goshawks differ in terms of their both colour and morphological features. The Northern Goshawk laingi subspecies is darker and slightly smaller than others.

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Distribution and Population

The Northern Goshawk is widely distributed in both temperate and boreal forests on the Holarctic. In North America, the species occurs over most of northern North America. The Northern Goshawk laingi subspecies occurs in southeastern Alaska, on the coastal islands of British Columbia and the Olympic Peninsula. It may also occur in coastal areas of Washington and Oregon. In Canada, the subspecies only occurs in coastal British Columbia, mainly on the Queen Charlotte Islands and Vancouver Island, and probably on other large coastal islands. Population numbers are uncertain but recent estimates suggest that the Queen Charlotte goshawk numbers about 300 breeding pairs on Vancouver Island and 50 breeding pairs on the Queen Charlotte Islands. Populations of the Queen Charlotte goshawk are generally thought to be in decline.

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Habitat

Northern Goshawks live in a wide variety of habitats, but they require complex habitat features during their breeding season. The species prefers forest stands with large amounts of mature or old-growth trees or stand characteristics, but it may breed in younger stands. Northern Goshawks specifically need forests with high canopy closure. In addition, small canopy openings (i.e. the space resulting from the fall of one or two trees) are often associated with their nest sites. In Canada, nests are mainly found in trembling aspen and Douglas-firs, but Northern Goshawk laingi subspecies also use other tree species (e.g. Black Cottonwood, Western Larch and Ponderosa Pine). More specifically, the goshawks on Vancouver Island primarily nest in Douglas-firs and western hemlocks. On this island, it is thought that this subspecies selects nest locations based on forest and tree structure, more than on tree species.

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Biology

The Northern Goshawk is a monogamous species reaches maturity around two years of age. Females usually lay their clutch of eggs (usually two and four eggs in number) by the end of May. The females (and occasionally males) incubate the eggs for a period of 28 to 32 days. In the Queen Charlotte Islands, young Northern Goshawks typically fledge during the first two weeks of July. Nesting success is variable for this species but a high percentage of nest attempts produced at least one fledgling in most studies that have been carried out to date. In Canada, the Northern Goshawk laingi subspecies is probably a year-round resident at its nesting site. In Canada, the Northern Goshawk laingi subspecies prey on a variety of medium-sized birds and mammals in the Queen Charlotte islands (e.g. Red Squirrel, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Blue Grouse, Varied Thrush and Hermit Thrush) and on Vancouver Island (e.g. Red Squirrel, Varied Thrush, Northern Flicker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Marbled Murrelets and bats).

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Threats

The most significant threats to the Northern Goshawk laingi subspecies include continued logging of low-elevation, old growth coniferous forest and suitable second-growth forest. Habitat degradation is the most likely cause of past population declines.

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Northern Goshawk laingi subspecies is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

The Northern Goshawk laingi subspecies is protected by the Canada National Parks Act, where it occurs in the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The subspecies is also protected by the British Columbia Wildlife Act. Under this Act, it is prohibited to kill, harm, or collect adults and eggs, or to destroy active nesting sites without a permit.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

8 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis laingi in Canada (2014-01-08)

    The Northern Goshawk laingisubspecies (Accipiter gentilis laingi) is a raven-sized, robust forest-dwelling raptor. Adults are brown-grey to slate-grey on the back, while underparts are pale-grey with fine horizontal grey bars and darker vertical streaking. The head has a distinctive whitish line above the eye and a dark-grey to black cap. Immature birds are an overall mottled brown. This hawk is a top-level avian predator in mature and old coastal rainforests and is considered an indicator species of these habitats, as well as an indicator of forest health and biodiversity.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Northern Goshawk laingi subspecies (2013-12-18)

    Over half of the global range of this subspecies occurs in coastal British Columbia, where it favours mature coniferous forest. This non-migratory bird needs a relatively large home range that contains a good food supply. Despite some recent habitat protection efforts, continuing habitat loss is predicted, in part because of anticipated short rotation times in forest harvest. On Haida Gwaii, populations are very low and face an added risk from declines of prey species due to forest understory losses associated with high levels of browsing from an introduced population of deer.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Northern Goshawk laingi subspecies (Accipiter gentilis laingi) in Canada (2018-12-21)

    The Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency is the competent minister under SARA for the recovery of the Northern Goshawk, laingi subspecies and has prepared the federal component of this recovery strategy (Part 1), as per Section 37 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the Province of British Columbia, First Nations, environmental non-governmental organizations, academic experts, and other stakeholders including representatives of industrial and small-scale forestry operators, as per Section 39(1) of SARA.

Action Plans

  • Multi-species Action Plan for Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site (2016-07-04)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site meets the requirements for an action plan set out in the Species at Risk Act (SARA (s.47)) for species requiring an action plan that occur inside the boundary of the site. This action plan will be updated to more comprehensively include measures to conserve and recover the marine species at risk once the first integrated Land, Sea, People management plan for Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve & Haida Heritage Site (hereafter called Gwaii Haanas) is complete. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur in Gwaii Haanas.
  • Multi-species Action Plan for Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada (2017-08-24)

    Backed by the Insular Mountain Range of Vancouver Island and facing the open Pacific Ocean, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada (Pacific Rim NPR) protects and presents the rich natural and cultural heritage of Canada's west coast. Pacific Rim NPR consists of three distinct units, the Long Beach Unit, Broken Group Islands Unit, and West Coast Trail Unit, each offering a range of unique visitor experiences. With significant areas (51,216 ha in total) of old growth, temperate rainforest, coastal dune systems, wetlands and foreshore, and marine habitats, the park demonstrates the interconnectedness between land, sea, and people. These natural wonders are interwoven with the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations culture (past and present), and that of European explorers and settlers.

Critical Habitat Statements

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report – 2012-2013 (2013-09-24)

    Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2012 to September 2013) from November 25 to November 30, 2012 and from April 28 to May 3, 2013. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 73 wildlife species. The wildlife species assessment results for the 2012-2013 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 0 Extirpated: 2 Endangered: 28 Threatened: 19 Special Concern: 19 Data Deficient: 4 Not at Risk: 1 Total: 73 Of the 73 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 50 species that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 26 of those species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing permit(#GHE 2013-01), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2013-07-10)

    Rat eradication on Murchison and Faraday islands will be undertaken by an aerial broadcast of bait containing a brodifacoum rodenticide at a designated application rate across the two islands. Hand-broadcast of bait will also be required for smaller islets and where aerial broadcast is not appropriate or feasible. The project also requires the reduction of introduced hyperabundant Sitka Black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus sitkensis) on the target islands prior to rat eradication implementation. Individuals of the following species, all listed under the Species at Risk Act, might be affected by the proposed activities: Northern Goshawk (laingi subspecies) (Threatened); Northern Saw-whet Owl (brooksi subspecies) (Threatened); and Ermine (haidarum subspecies - Queen Charlotte Islands population) (Threatened). Both bird species (Northern Goshawk and Northern Saw-whet Owl) are at risk of secondary poisoning resulting from predating / scavenging rats or passerines that have fed directly on the rodenticide bait
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