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Birds Guide

True hawks

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Sharp-shinned Hawk
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Subfamily: Accipitrinae

The term hawk refers to birds of prey in any of three senses:

  • Strictly, to mean any of the species in the bird sub-family Accipitrinae in the genera Accipiter, Micronisus, Melierax, Urotriorchis, and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread Accipiter genus includes goshawks, sparrowhawks, the Sharp-shinned Hawk and others. They are mainly woodland birds that hunt by sudden dashes from a concealed perch. They usually have long tails and high visual acuity.
  • Loosely, to mean almost any bird of prey.

The common names of birds in various parts of the world often use hawk loosely. For example, in North America, the Buteos are often called "hawks".

In February 2005 the Canadian scientist Dr Louis Lefebvre announced a method of measuring avian IQ in terms of their innovation in feeding habits. Hawks were named among the most intelligent birds based on this scale.

Hawks are believed to have vision as good as 20/2, about eight times more acute than humans with good eyesight. This is because of many photoreceptors in the retina (Up to 1,000,000 per square mm, against 200,000 for humans), a very high number of nerves connecting the receptors to the brain, a second set of eye muscles not found in other animals, and an indented fovea which magnifies the central part of the visual field.

Species list

This list is in taxonomic order to show the relationships between species.

  • Subfamily Accipitrinae
    • Genus Accipiter
      • Goshawk, A. gentilis
        Sparrowhawk, A. nisus
        Grey-bellied Goshawk, A. poliogaster
        Crested Goshawk, A. trivirgatus
        Sulawesi Goshawk, A. griseiceps
        Red-chested Goshawk, A. toussenelii
        African Goshawk, A. tachiro
        Chinese Goshawk, A. soloensis
        Frances' Goshawk, A. francesii
        Spot-tailed Goshawk, A. trinotatus
        Grey Goshawk, A. novaehollandiae
        Brown Goshawk, A. fasciatus
        Black-mantled Goshawk, A. melanochlamys
        Pied Goshawk, A. albogularis
        Fiji Goshawk, A. rufitorques
        White-bellied Goshawk, A. haplochrous
        Moluccan Goshawk, A. henicogrammus
        Grey-headed Goshawk, A. poliocephalus
        New Britain Goshawk, A. princeps
        Black Goshawk, A. melanoleucus
        Henst's Goshawk, A. henstii
        Meyer's Goshawk, A. meyerianus
        Chestnut-flanked Sparrowhawk, A. castanilius
        Nicobar Sparrowhawk, A. butleri
        Levant Sparrowhawk, A. brevipes
        Slaty-mantled Sparrowhawk, A. luteoschistaceus
        Imitator Sparrowhawk, A. imitator
        Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, A. erythropus
        Little Sparrowhawk, A. minullus
        Japanese Sparrowhawk, A. gularis
        Small Sparrowhawk, A. nanus
        Rufous-necked Sparrowhawk, A. erythrauchen
        Collared Sparrowhawk, A. cirrocephalus
        New Britain Sparrowhawk, A. brachyurus
        Vinous-breasted Sparrowhawk, A. rhodogaster
        Madagascar Sparrowhawk, A. madagascariensis
        Ovampo Sparrowhawk, A. ovampensis
        Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk, A. rufiventris
        Shikra, A. badius
        Tiny Hawk, A. superciliosus
        Semicollared Hawk, A. collaris
        Sharp-shinned Hawk, A. striatus
        White-breasted Hawk, A. chionogaster
        Plain-breasted Hawk, A. ventralis
        Rufous-thighed Hawk, A. erythronemius
        Cooper's Hawk, A. cooperii
        Gundlach's Hawk, A. gundlachi
        Bicoloured Hawk, A. bicolor
        Besra, A. virgatus
    • Genus Micronisus
      • Gabar Goshawk, M. gabar
    • Genus Melierax
      • Dark Chanting Goshawk, M. metabates
        Eastern Chanting Goshawk, M. poliopterus
        Pale Chanting Goshawk, M. canorus
    • Genus Urotriorchis
      • Long-tailed Hawk, U. macrourus
    • Genus Erythrotriorchis
      • Red Goshawk, E. radiatus
        Chestnut-shouldered Goshawk, E. buergersi
    • Genus Megatriorchis

Hawks and humans

  • Hawks are sometimes used in falconry, a sport in which trained hawks, eagles or falcons, are used to pursue and catch small game.
  • In the US, hawks are sometimes shot for sport or by ranchers who believe the birds may depredate livestock. This makes hawk conservation an issue in some areas. In other parts of the world, most hawk species are protected by law

External links

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| Eagles
| Falconry
| Falcon
| Harrier
| Kites
| Old World vulture
| Owls
| True hawks

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This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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