The Sparrowhawk hunts small birds such as sparrows, the Hen Harrier hunts game birds. So, it stands to reason that the Goshawk is also named after its potential prey item. Goshawks get their name from an Anglo Saxon word goshafoc, which means Goose Hawk. These huge, Buzzard-sized birds were historically flown in order to catch quarry the size of a goose. Indeed, they were traditionally kept as birds capable of providing food for the table.
In the UK, ‘wild’ Goshawks don’t tend to hunt large waterbirds much, as they are now primarily woodland birds. They are rare breeders in the UK with between about 300 and 450 pairs nationwide.