Re: birding-aus Grey Goshawk

To: Brian Everingham <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus Grey Goshawk
From: "Lawrence E. Conole" <>
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 1999 14:02:03 +1000
Brian Everingham wrote:

> This is really the week for Grey Goshawks  ..this morning I walked up from
> Bulgo to Otford at the southern end of Royal National Park, Sydney and as I
> emerged from the secondary rainforest there in front of me was a white phase
> grey goshawk ... it flew close above, the dived into the canopy. A short

I wish I was in Royal NP this morning - beats the Spotted Turtle-Doves, Common
Mynas, etc. in my back yard at Pascoe Vale South.

Now this is not meant to be a barb for Brian (as I quite enjoyed his birding
description), but I thought I'd raise the phase vs. morph issue again & flush
out a few pedants.

It seems that describing a white plumaged Grey Goshawk (aka a White Goshawk) as
a "white phase" suggests that at some point it will become grey (or some other
colour) as it enters a different phase.  Describing the bird as a "white morph"
is more accurate, as the bird will be white all its life as far as we know, and
it is a distinct white-plumaged phenotype of a polymorphic species.

In the end maybe it matters little as we all know what Brian meant, but a little
more attention to accuracy would be clearer in some quarters that might take
"phase" literally.  I've lived most of my life in an area where the white morph
represents probably 95-99% of all Grey Goshawks seen (SW Victoria), so maybe
that brought the issue to mind more often for me.


3 Gezireh Street, Pascoe Vale South,
Victoria 3044 AUSTRALIA.  37°44'27"S  144°56'17"E
Phone (03) 9354 2484; Mobile (0419) 588 993
E-mail: <>
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