Erythrotriorchis radiatus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Erythrotriorchis radiatus
Species Authority: (Latham, 1801)
Common Name(s):
English Red Goshawk
Spanish Azor Rojo
Accipiter radiatus radiatus Collar and Andrew (1988)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Taylor, J. & Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Baker-Gabb, D. & Garnett, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Garnett, S., McClellan, R., Stattersfield, A., Symes, A., Taylor, J.

This species has been downlisted from Vulnerable because its population is now estimated to be larger than was previously thought. Nevertheless, the population remains moderately small and is suspected to be declining, with most individuals restricted to a single subpopulation, and it is therefore listed as Near Threatened. Good evidence of continuing, moderately rapid population declines might lead to it being uplisted again in future.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Erythrotriorchis radiatus is endemic to Australia. Historically, it ranged in northern and eastern Australia, north of c.33°S in the east, and 19°S in the west, but its range has contracted from south of 28°S in the east, and it is now virtually extinct in New South Wales. Recent surveys suggest breeding is continuous across northern Australia. The population was estimated at only 330 pairs in the early 1990s, but was estimated at 700 pairs in 2010, including 100 pairs on Tiwi Islands, probably a separate subpopulation, and 600 pairs elsewhere across northern Australia from the Kimberley through the Northern Territory and through Queensland to northern New South Wales (Garnett et al. 2011). Gradual declines owing to loss of habitat may still be occurring, at least in eastern Queensland (Garnett et al. 2011).

Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Because of its inconspicuousness, the population size is probably historically under-estimated. The total popula­tion was previously estimated at about 350 pairs, but is now estimated at about 700 pairs. This includes 100 pairs on Tiwi Islands, probably a separate subpopulation, and 600 pairs elsewhere across northern Australia from the Kimberley through the Northern Territory and through Queensland to northern New South Wales (Garnett et al. 2011).

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

It lives in coastal and subcoastal, tall, open forests and woodlands, tropical savannas traversed by wooded or forested rivers and along the edges of rainforest. It builds stick nests in trees taller than 20 m within 1 km of a watercourse or wetland. It hunts in open forests and gallery forests, with a home range of up to 200 km2, taking mostly medium to large birds, but also snakes. In winter in eastern Australia, it appears to move from nest-sites in the ranges to coastal plains, where it often feeds on waterbirds taken from open wetlands.

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Widespread clearance for agriculture probably caused the historical decline in north-eastern New South Wales and southern Queensland. Continuing clearance is affecting more northerly populations. Even if riparian strips are left uncleared, pairs usually nest in the tallest trees that are then exposed to storm damage and other disturbance. Clearing of forest for acacia plantations has rendered some territories on Melville Island unproductive (S. Garnett in litt. 2007). Egg-collecting may result in the failure of some nests as does the burning of nest trees or disruption of breeding by fire. Shooting by pigeon and poultry owners, and possibly pesticides, causes some mortality of individuals and may result in temporary local scarcity. Prey abun­dance may be reduced by loss or degradation of freshwa­ter wetlands, loss of hollow-bearing trees in which prey breed, over-grazing by livestock and feral herbivores, and changed fire regimes.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. Some survey work has been carried out in various parts of the species's range.

Conservation Actions Proposed
From Garnett et al. (2011). Study demography, especially adult survivorship. Monitor known nesting localities. Investigate the impact of habitat fragmentation on nesting pairs. Protect habitat through purchase or voluntary conservation agreements.  Encourage landholders to protect and manage Red Goshawk territories.  Promote information used to identify and protect nesting habitat. Produce habitat descriptions and maps for management purposes.  Produce educational materials that promote the recovery process. Limit access to known nest sites.

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Erythrotriorchis radiatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 05 September 2015.
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