Rare Photos of Crested Goshawk Mating in Shanghai’s Zhongshan Park

by Craig Brelsford
Founder, shanghaibirding.com

Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus has attempted to breed in inner-city Shanghai. The photos below show a pair mating at Zhongshan Park. Birder Wāng Jìn Róng (汪进荣), the best chronicler of Crested Goshawk in Shanghai, captured the moment.

Lying 5 km (3.1 mi.) west of People’s Square, Zhongshan Park (31.223705, 121.415994) is a spot of green surrounded by miles of cold grey city. The park is more than a hundred years old. Many of the trees there are giants, as in the old-growth forests to which Crested Goshawk is adapted. The environment is far from classic Crested Goshawk habitat, but apparently it is reminiscent enough to allow the species to gain a foothold.

Crested Goshawk Mating
Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus indicus mating in Shanghai’s Zhongshan Park, April. (Wāng Jìn Róng [汪进荣])
Crested Goshawk Mating
Wāng Jìn Róng (汪进荣)
Crested Goshawk Mating
Wāng Jìn Róng (汪进荣)
Crested Goshawk Mating
Wāng Jìn Róng (汪进荣)
Crested Goshawk Mating
Wāng Jìn Róng (汪进荣)
Crested Goshawk Mating
Wāng Jìn Róng (汪进荣)
Crested Goshawk Mating
Wāng Jìn Róng (汪进荣)
Crested Goshawk Mating
Wāng Jìn Róng (汪进荣)

RESOURCES ON CRESTED GOSHAWK

View my earlier posts on Crested Goshawk:

Crested Goshawk Crested Goshawk Invades Shanghai: Accipiter trivirgatus indicus has sunk its talons into Shanghai. Records of Crested Goshawk have come from all four seasons and at various locations throughout the city, among them Zhongshan Park, Century Park, and Gongqing Forest Park. The species is only rarely noted in the less forested coastal areas of the city-province, for example Cape Nanhui.

Crested GoshawkCrested Goshawk at Shanghai’s Century Park: shanghaibirding.com founder Craig Brelsford explains why the Accipter he saw at Shanghai’s Century Park was Crested Goshawk. The short, broad wings, pinched at the base, were a major clue. Much straighter are the wings of Chinese Sparrowhawk A. soloensis and Japanese Sparrowhawk A. gularis.

See also:

— The shanghaibirding.com Tag Page on Crested Goshawk, with dramatic photos by Wāng Jìn Róng of a Crested Goshawk devouring a Pallas’s Squirrel at Shanghai’s Zhongshan Park

— The shanghaibirding.com Guide to Birding Urban Shanghai

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Crested Goshawk at Century Park

by Craig Brelsford
Founder, shanghaibirding.com

​At Pudong’s Century Park on 26 Nov., I recorded Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus. It was my first record at Century of Crested Goshawk, a species whose presence in urban Shanghai is growing ever more noticeable.

Li Qiu (李秋), her husband Qiao Ying (乔颖), Paul Hyde, and I were standing in Woodcock Forest (31.213235, 121.551704), a heavily wooded part of Century Park. We were watching Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major, itself rare in urban Shanghai.

We saw an Accipiter flying over the treetops. We ran out of the forest into a grassy area and saw the goshawk soaring 100 m above the park. Qiu got the photo above left.

The goshawk seemed not to be passing through Century but to be using the park; the combination of low flight over the treetops followed by soaring flight over the park gave me an impression of a raptor that knows the area.

Why is Sunday’s goshawk Crested Goshawk?

1. Wings short and broad and “pinched” at base—the narrow wing base is obvious in Qiu’s photo, as well as in my photo above right of a Crested Goshawk from Emeifeng, Fujian. Crested Goshawk is well-known for its narrow wing base and bulging secondaries. By contrast, regional sparrowhawks such as Besra Accipiter virgatus and Eurasian Sparrowhawk A. nisus have less-rounded wings.

Accipiter
Comparison of bulge of secondaries of regional sparrowhawks. Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus (top L) shows a ‘pinched’ wing base and bulging secondaries. Much straighter are the wings of Chinese Sparrowhawk A. soloensis (top R) and Japanese Sparrowhawk A. gularis (bottom R). The secondaries of Eurasian Sparrowhawk A. nisus (bottom L) show more of a bulge than the previous two species but less than Crested Goshawk. (Craig Brelsford)

2. When I saw the raptor close, soaring over the treetops, the impression I got was not of a large, buzzard-sized Accipiter (as might have been the impression if the raptor had been Northern Goshawk A. gentilis). Instead, I got the impression of a smaller raptor. An impression of a large, Buteo-sized raptor would weigh against a diagnosis of Crested Goshawk, but an impression of a smaller raptor weighs in favor of an Accipiter the size of Crested Goshawk.

3. Besra is less likely to be seen soaring than is Crested Goshawk.

4. As I note in my recent post, “Crested Goshawk Invades Shanghai,” Crested Goshawk is known to occur in urban Shanghai, including Century Park. Knowledge that Crested Goshawk is in this city does not weigh against a diagnosis of the Accipiter Sunday as Crested Goshawk. Indeed, if my impression of a more or less resident Accipiter is correct, then it lends support to the idea.

P.S. In addition to the goshawk, our 38 species Sunday included a first-ever Century Park record of Eurasian Coot Fulica atra. For a list of all the species recorded at the premier birding park in urban Shanghai, see our page Birds Recorded at Century Park.

Featured image: Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus. Left: Century Park, Shanghai, 26 Nov. (Li Qiu). Right: Emeifeng, Fujian. (Craig Brelsford)
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