Goshawks in the New Forest


After being absent from the New Forest for 120 years, there are now around 45 pairs of Goshawks living in the New Forest. 

The New Forest is famous for its animals, from the forest ponies and cattle that graze on it to the deer first established here for Royal parties to hunt. But there are many other less well-seen creatures that call the Forest home including one of the UK’s most elusive birds of prey – the goshawk or so-called ‘Phantom of the Forest’.

Goshawks were absent from the New Forest for 120 years, only returning in 2002 when a single pair settled here again. Since then, a team at Forestry England have been working hard to learn more about these raptors and help to ensure that they are able to breed successfully.

Present in the Forest all year round, the goshawk is an extremely agile flier, instinctively opening and folding its wings at just the right moment as it weaves its way silently between trees and shrubs in pursuit of its prey.

Goshawk nest camera

Tropic Skincare’s support has funded this year's goshawk nest-cam in the New Forest. You can watch our video playlist to see footage of the birds in their nest during the nesting season.

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Two goshawks on a nest.

Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)

The goshawk is a large hawk, similar in size to the buzzard, with a distinctive white stripe above bright reddish eyes.  With a broad wingspan of around 135 to 165cm, the adults are slate grey on top while the juveniles are brown. The male is smaller (around 600 to 1,100g) than the female (around 900 to 2,000g) which enables them to take a wide variety of prey from within the same environment.

"We are constantly learning more about these incredible birds and understanding the important role they play in the life of the forest. I am fascinated by how goshawks and other forest raptors utilise the woods we manage and find the levels that enable them to co-exist alongside each other." - Andy Page.

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