New Britain Goshawk (Accipiter princeps)

New Britain Goshawk

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Accipiter princeps | [authority] Mayr, 1934 | [UK] New Britain Goshawk | [FR] Autour de Mayr | [DE] Prinzenhabicht | [ES] Azor de Nueva Bretana | [NL] Bleke Havik


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Accipiter princeps AU New Britain


Members of the genus Accipiter are small and medium-sized hawks, often called Sparrow-hawks or Goshawks. The females are almost invariably much larger than the males – in some cases weighing twice as much – a level of size dimorphism only exceptionally reached in any other genus Falconiformes. Their wings are short and rounded; the tail usually quite long. They are well adapted for flying through dense bush. Bird-catching Sparrow-hawks generally have long and slender legs, with slender digits, the middle one being especially long. Goshawks are usually larger, with shorter, thicker tarsi and digits and a shorter middle digit. Some smaller species have goshawk-like feet and vice versa, making it difficult on a world-wide basis to subdivide the genus on this or any other broad basis. Although many accipiters feed upon birds moreso than do other hawks, some species take many mammals, especially squirrels; others take lizards, frogs, snakes, insects, even snails. In these species the legs and digits are sometimes slender, but short. Accipiters are rarely crested, but some have very attractive colour patterns. Black phases are present, especially in the tropical species. One in Australia has the only pure white phase. Accipiter is the largest genus in the family, having about fifty species. It is present worldwide, but is especially rich in Papua-New Guinea, where a small island like New Britain may have three to five endemic species or distinct sub-species.

Physical charateristics

beautiful and unmistakabl large Goshawk with uniformly dark grey upperparts and head. Throat more white, greyish washed band on upperbreast. Underparts white, underwings unbarred. Dark beak with reddish cere. The female is larger with same coloration, immatures undescribed.

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 38 cm size max.: 43 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
      eggs max.: 0  


Australasia : New Britain. Accipiter princeps is endemic to the island of New Britain, Papua New Guinea. It is known from four specimens and a handful of recent records. Although the status of the species is difficult to asses, it is undoubtedly scarce and probably declining.


Most of the recent records have come from lower montane forest to 1,600 m but it was recorded once at 200 m and there is one probable record from 50 m


No data.

Feeding habits

Little data, probably insects, birds and small mammals and reptiles.


This species is listed as Vulnerable because remote sensing has revealed that its small population is likely to be declining owing to deforestation. However this species’ elevational preferences are poorly known and fieldwork might lead this classification being re-evaluated.
Whilst lowland forests are being extensively logged and cleared for conversion to oil palm on New Britain, there is little logging activity in the mountains and even though the population may prove to be small, it is likely to be declining only slowly. However, the paucity of records gives cause for concern
New Britain Goshawk status Vulnerable



Distribution map

New Britain Goshawk distribution range map

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