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New Britain Goshawk
Accipiter princeps

Status: Vulnerable

Population Trend: Declining.

Other Names: New Britain Grey-headed Goshawk, Bismarck Goshawk, White-breasted Goshawk.

Accipiter princeps
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Distribution: Australasian. Endemic to BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO (New Britain). more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: Possibly a race of A. poliocephalus, according to Brown and Amadon (1968), but probably forms a superspecies with that form because of differences in size, morphology, and plumages (Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001).

Movements: Non-migratory (Bildstein and Zalles 2005).

Habitat and Habits: According to Coates (1985), this species is known only from mountain forest between 760 to 1,430 m although BirdLife International (2008) gives the elevational range as 200 m (one record) to 1,600 m. Bishop and Jones (2001) recorded one at an elevation of ca. 50 m within roadside scrub at the interface of secondary forest and cattle pasture, an area quite unlike the habitat preferences reported by earlier observers.

Food and Feeding Behavior: Diamond (1971) collected a male with insects in its stomach, and it was collected while eating a thrush, Zoothera talasea, trapped in a mist net. One was seen attacking an unidentified small passerine on the north coast of West New Britain (Bishop and Jones 2001).

Breeding: No information.

Conservation: Little known and apparently very uncommon (Coates 1985). According to Bishop and Jones (2001), it is known from only four specimens and a handful of sight records. They proposed that the species be treated as Data Deficient, implying (probably correctly) that it is under-recorded. It is not yet known whether this species is confined to northeast New Britain, or whether it is absent from nearby New Ireland. BirdLife International categorizes it as Near Threatened, based on its limited range and the ongoing destruction of lowland forests on New Britain.

Population Estimates: Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) made an estimate of "hundreds of individuals," but noted that guesses about numbers of this little-known species are almost meaningless.

Important References: 
Beehler, B.M., T.K. Pratt, and D.A. Zimmerman. 1986. Birds of New Guinea.
  Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
BirdLife International, 2000. Threatened birds of the World. BirdLife
  International, Cambridge, UK, and Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Bishop, K.D. 1983. Some notes on non-passerine birds of West New Britain.
  Emu 83:235-241.
Bishop, K.D., and D.N. Jones. 2001. The montane avifauna of West New
  Britain, with special reference to the Nakanai Mountains. Emu 101:205-220.
Clay, J. 1994. Nakanai '93: an Oxford University Expedition to New Britain
  Island, Papua New Guinea. Unpublished report.
Coates, B.J. 1985. The birds of Papua New Guinea, including the Bismarck
  Archipelago and Bougainville. Vol. I. Non-passerines. Dove Publications,
  Alderley, Queensland, Australia.
Debus, S.J.S. 1994. New Britain Goshawk. P. 154 in del Hoyo, J., A.
  Elliott, and J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New
  World vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Diamond, J.M. 1971. Bird records from west New Britain. Condor 73:481-483.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Mayr, E. 1934. Birds collected during the Whitney South Sea Expedition.
  28. Notes on some birds from New Britain, Bismarck Archipelago. American
  Museum Novitates no. 709.
Wattel, J. 1973. Geographical differentiation in the genus .
  Nuttall Ornithological Club Publication no. 13.

Last modified: 5/15/2014

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2022. Species account: New Britain Goshawk Accipiter princeps. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 23 Jan. 2022

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