11 January 2021

Baby boom for Brown Goshawks

Two chicks born in an Australian first

Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park has had breeding success with two Brown Goshawks chicks born in captivity.

Moonlit Sanctuary Life Sciences Manager, Lisa Tuthill, said, “We believe this is an Australian first for a display establishment. To our knowledge, they are currently the only breeding pair of brown goshawks in captivity in Australia.”

The Goshawk parents came to Moonlit Sanctuary after a difficult start to life. The male, named Loki, was rescued in 2016 after being found with clipped wings and talons, wearing falconry anklets and jesses. The female, named Xena, was rescued in 2013 with head trauma after being attacked by a cat.

In 2018, Xena began laying eggs and the Moonlit Sanctuary Avian Team decided she would be the ideal mate for Loki.

A new home for the pair was built in consultation with falconry expert Martin Scuffins, and Avian specialist, Dr Hamish Baron. The new Goshawk Ariary opened at Moonlit Sanctuary in 2019 but although Xena laid eggs soon after, they were infertile.

Loki and Xena bred again in 2020, this time successfully, with two eggs hatching in late December. One of their chicks is being raised by the parents and the other is being hand-raised by experts from Moonlit Sanctuary.

Moonlit Sanctuary Director, Michael Johnson said, “Once mature, we plan for the hand-raised chick to take part in the Sanctuary’s Conservation in Action show. We will share its story with the public to raise awareness of how we can all contribute to the wellbeing of wild birds.

“The breeding success also gives our keepers skills that can be used to assist endangered species,” he added.

A newly hatched Goshawk chick in nest

A goshawk chick
A very young goshawk chick in nesting material