Habitat associations of sympatric red-tailed hawks and northern goshawks on the Kaibab Plateau

Frank A. La Sorte, R. William Mannan, Richard T. Reynolds, Teryl G. Grubb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We investigated habitat association of sympatric red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) and northern goshawks (Accipiter gentilis) at 2 spatial scales centered on nest sites: (1) fine-scale patterns of forest structure and topography within 16-m radius circles (0.08 ha), and (2) midscale patterns of forested and nonforested areas, forest fragmentation, and topography within 2,085-m-radius circles (1,367 ha). Nonforested areas were defined as any area lacking >20% canopy closure within a 30 x 30-m cell. At both scales, red-tailed hawk associations were more variable and goshawk associations less variable. At the fine scale, goshawks were consistently associated with open understories, tall trees, and gentle slopes (x̄ = 9.6°, SD = 6.9) while red-tailed hawks were associated, on average, with steep, north-facing slopes (x̄ = 17.4°, SD = 8.1) and dense understories. At the midscale, goshawks were consistently associated with patches of continuous forest and level terrain within 645 m of nest sites. Red-tailed hawks were associated with nonforested areas located within 105-645 m of nest sites and steep slopes within 105 m of nest sites. Forest fragmentation was greater around red-tailed hawk nest sites, and forested regions were more aggregated around goshawk nest sites when compared with the other species. These patterns indicate that on the Kaibab Plateau, red-tailed hawks will gain habitat at the midscale and goshawks will lose habitat at both scales if forests are fragmented and mature forest structure is lost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-317
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2004


  • Accipiter gentilis
  • Arizona
  • Buteo jamaicensis
  • Forest fragmentation
  • GIS
  • Habitat association
  • Landsat
  • Landscape pattern
  • Northern goshawk
  • Patch analysis
  • Red-tailed hawk
  • Remote sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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