The red goshawk is listed as 'Vulnerable' under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). It is listed as 'Critically Endangered' in New South Wales (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995), 'Endangered' in Queensland (Nature Conservation Act 1992), 'Vulnerable' in the Northern Territory (Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2000), and 'rare or likely to become extinct' in Western Australia (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950).
The red goshawk is very sparsely dispersed across approximately 15 percent of primarily coastal and near-coastal Australia from the Kimberley in Western Australia to north-eastern New South Wales (Blakers et al. 1984, Aumann and Baker-Gabb 1991, Barrett et al. 2003). Very low numbers, perhaps transient birds, have also been recorded along major rivers in central Australia (Garnett and Crowley 2000, Aumann 2001). While this broad geographic distribution has changed little since European settlement, there have been some marked contractions in large parts of the bird's range.
The main cause of the decline of the red goshawk in north-east New South Wales and eastern Queensland is reported as widespread clearance of native forests and woodlands for agriculture. Other threats to the species include fragmentation and degradation of habitat, direct disturbance and/or loss of nesting sites and changes in prey availability.