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Hawks are a group of medium-sized diurnal birds of prey of the family Accipitridae which are widely distributed and varying greatly in size.

  • The subfamily Accipitrinae includes goshawks, sparrowhawks, the sharp-shinned hawk and others. These are mainly woodland birds with long tails and high visual acuity, hunting by sudden dashes from a concealed perch.
  • In the Americas, members of the Buteo group are also called hawks; these are called buzzards in other parts of the world. Generally buteos have broad wings and sturdy builds. They are relatively larger winged, shorter-tailed and soar more extensively in open areas than accipiters, descending or pouncing on their prey rather than making fast horizontal pursuit.

The terms accipitrine hawk and buteonine hawk may be used to distinguish the two types, in regions where hawk applies to both. The term "true hawk" is sometimes used for the accipitrine hawks, in regions where buzzard is preferred for the buteonine hawks.

All these groups are members of the Accipitridae family, which includes the hawks and buzzards as well as kites, harriers and eagles. Some authors use "hawk" generally for any small to medium Accipitrid that is not an eagle.

The common names of some birds include the term "hawk", reflecting traditional usage rather than taxonomy, such as referring to an osprey as a "fish hawk" or a peregrine falcon as a "duck hawk".

Pages in category "Hawks"

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