The northern goshawk is a widespread species that inhabits the temperate parts of the northern hemisphere. It is a raptor with short, broad wings and a long tail, both adaptations to manoeuvring within its forest habitat. Across most of the species range, it is blue-grey above and barred grey or white below, but Asian subspecies in particular range from nearly white overall to nearly black above. The juvenile is brown above and barred brown below. Juveniles and adults have a barred tail, with dark brown or black barring. Adults always have a white eye stripe. In North America, juveniles have pale-yellow eyes, and adults develop dark red eyes usually after their second year, although nutrition and genetics may affect eye color as well. In Europe and Asia, juveniles also have pale-yellow eyes, however adults develop orange-colored eyes.