I saw this large bird gliding fairly low over the trees while hiking in the late afternoon in some hills near Taipei recently. It seemed quite large compared to what I normally see here. It's quite difficult to gauge, but I'd guess the wing span was one meter or so.

It made that shrill, descending, single "peeeew" sound that I associate with birds of prey (probably mostly from old movies or TV commercials).

Is it at all possible to guess if this is a hawk or an eagle from these cell phone snapshots? These are cropped out of the full resolution originals. A half-size original for scale is also included.

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1 Answer 1


This is indeed in the Family Accipitridae also known as the Hawks, Eagles, and Kites Family. But it is neither a eagle or hawk! This bird in the photo you provided is actually in the goshawk and sparrowhawk family (Genus Accipiter)

Further identification features and range provide the exact species of Crested Goshawk (Accipiter trivirgatus)

Powerfully built hawk of forests, especially hilly woods. Namesake crest is usually held low and not very visible. Adult has a gray head, brown wings, whitish underparts with thick orange-brown stripes in belly and streaks in breast, and white throat with black borders. Juvenile similar but with brown head, sparingly marked underparts, and very short crest. Appears stockier and relatively shorter-tailed in flight than other accipiters. Flying adults may also show a fluffy white clump of feathers on both sides of the tail. Source: https://ebird.org

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Image ref: https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/250380634, Photo 250380634, (c) Max Hsieh(雁子), some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), uploaded by Max Hsieh(雁子)

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Image ref: https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/333485461, Photo 333485461, (c) krishy, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

  • $\begingroup$ Excellent, thanks again! One of the nice things about Taipei is that because of the terrain and the culture, the city is interspersed with a lot of natural areas, which means one can photograph an Accipiter trivirgatus ssp. formosae from Da An park and post it in inaturalist.org $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 8 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ It's great when a new user stops by and solves a six year old mystery, and writes a wells-sourced, informative answer. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 10 at 0:23
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh Haha, thank you so much! You are very welcoming. I am going to go and answer all of your unanswered questions when I get the time. At least the ones that are in my range :) Thank you so much for your support! I have never been welcomed to a stack exchange site this kindly before $\endgroup$
    – Arrow
    Commented May 10 at 11:25

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