Endangered Species
Alaska Region   


Queen Charlotte Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis laing)
British Columbia Distinct Population Segment

Designation: Threatened (only in Canada)

The Queen Charlotte goshawk is a comparatively small, dark subspecies of northern goshawk that lives in old growth and mature second-growth forests on the islands and coastal mainland of Southeast Alaska and British Columbia. They eat a variety of medium-sized birds and mammals including sooty grouse, ptarmigan, thrushes, jays, crows, woodpeckers, and red squirrels.  They search for quarry from a perch for a short period of time, then move to another perch, watch, move again, repeating the process until they sight their prey.  Attacks are typically launched from a perch, rather than from the air. Goshawks have broad short wings and a long tail, which enable rapid acceleration and the maneuverability necessary for catching prey within a forest. 

Critical Habitat:  No critical habitat is designated because the British Columbia DPS is entirely outside the United States. 

Distribution:   The listed DPS of this subspecies occurs on Vancouver Island and the surrounding smaller islands, the Queen Charlotte Islands, and the coastal mainland and adjacent islands west of the crest of the Coast Mountains in British Columbia, Canada.  A second DPS, which is not listed, occurs in Southeast Alaska.

Threats:   Timber harvest, clear-cutting in particular, affects goshawks at local and regional scales by impacting nest sites, prey abundance, or prey availability.  Prey availability is a function of both prey abundance and prey vulnerability and forest management can affect both.  Logging removes cover and perches.  Dense regrowth of young forest provides poor habitat for most prey, and is avoided by goshawks, likely because it is difficult for them to fly through.  Goshawks will hunt forest edges if prey occurs there.  However, the centers of large openings are of little value because goshawks typically hunt from perches rather than from the air, as many other hawks do.

Conservation efforts:  Throughout Canada, the Species at Risk Act protects the Queen Charlotte goshawk from direct harm, harassment, and take on Federal lands.Individuals, eggs, and occupied nests are protected on all jurisdictions in British Columbia under the provincial Wildlife Act. Possession and trade in the subspecies is forbidden throughout Canada, as is destruction of nests.  Development and implementation of regulatory mechanisms for timber harvest are also expected to reduce impacts to Queen Charlotte goshawk.

Contacts: Steve Brockmann (907) 780-1181

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Species Profile

Last updated: August 1, 2012