Hawks are from the family of eagles, secretary birds, kites and the Old World vultures. They are classified as raptors, that is, birds which prey on other smaller birds and animals. There are various species differing in size, habitat and certain other characteristics.
A hawk possesses some unique traits which are its distinguishing qualities. These special features are discussed below.
- They are popular for having an extremely keen sight, which is eight times sharper than the eyesight of humans. Moreover, they can also see colors unlike most animals which live in a black and white world.
- They are also known for their talons which are razor sharp to aid in killing their prey. Their strong feet are covered with scales.
- Their beaks are hook shaped which are very useful for tearing up meat.
- They fly and dive at very fast speed in order to get hold of their prey without warning.
There are many other hawks facts which are really interesting to read. Have a look at this information and give your knowledge a boost.
Here is some general information about these bird predators.
- Their daily activities, like hunting, are carried out at daytime. Therefore, they are categorized as diurnal birds. However, some of their species are classified as crepuscular since they carry out their activities at dawn or in the evening dusk.
- Most of their species are opportunistic and feed whatever food they can find. They may eat insects, small rodents, snakes, chipmunks and small birds.
- Their eyes are found on either side of their head giving them a 280 degrees view of the scene around them.
- Some of their species can locate prey even if it as far as two miles away.
- They rank as the most intelligent birds according to Louis Lefebvre's method of assessing the IQ of birds.
- Their ability to see colors comes from 4 different types of color receptor cells in their eyes. They can even see ultraviolet rays which cannot be detected by human eyesight.
- They attain maturity when they are two years old. Their total life span extends to twenty-one years.
- A female lays one to five eggs at a time after a gestation period of three to six weeks.
- Different species live in different types of habitats which may be marshlands, prairies, savannahs or deep forests.
- The size of females is larger than their male mates.
- A pair exists together for a lifetime. However, when one of the mates dies, the surviving spouse promptly looks for another mate.
- One of the largest species in size is known as Red Legged hawk. Their length is twenty-two inches with fifty-five inches of wingspan.
- These birds like cleanliness and their nests are meticulous. This keeps harmful microbes away from their eggs and babies.
Types of Hawks
Before going through the list of types of hawks, it is important to know that falcons do not fall into this category as generally believed. This is because a hawk belongs to order Accipitriformes while falcons are members of Falconiformes order.
Here is a list of eleven members of Accipitriformes with a brief description about each type.
- Broad wingedThey belong to the Buteo genus. They mostly live in eastern forests of North America. Their wingspan is forty inches wide which gives them their name.
- Red shoulderedThey are characterized by red head and shoulders with brownish head. They are further classified into five sub-species.
- Cooper'sThey are small in size with males being fourteen to eighteen inches and females sixteen to twenty inches. Young ones possess yellow eyes which turn red at maturation.
- HarrisThey have beautiful chestnut color at shoulders and deep brown shade on the plumage. They are divided into three more sub-species.
- GoshawkTheir unique trait is a long tail. Goshawks are found in different parts of Asia, North America and Europe.
- Northern HarrierThey are also known as Marsh Hawks. Their preferred habitat is open areas and they build nests on the ground.
- Rough leggedThey are large sized birds with a size of 50 to 54 inches and wingspan extending to fifty-two inches. Their habitat comprises of tundra, forests as well as barren areas around the countryside.
- Red tailedThey possess tails which are red at the top and pink at the underside. There are fourteen sub-species which differ in physical traits.
- SwainsonsThey possess slender bodies. Their habitat is found in North America but they migrate to South America in winters.
- FerruginousThere are two types of ferruginous birds: light colored and dark colored. They are smaller than most of the other species, being only twenty to twenty-eight inches in size.
- Sharp shinnedBeing nine to twelve inches in size, they are the smallest among all other members of Accipitriformes. Females are a bit large with a size between 11 and 15 inches.
Pictures of Hawks
When you go through pictures of hawks, you will discover a lot about their physical traits. It will be particularly interesting to see those scary eyes staring at you. However, it is the noticeable inter-species differences which you should have a look at. There are many different species which in turn have more sub-species. All of them possess different sizes, colors and stretch of the wingspan. It will enhance your knowledge when you observe all of these differences through their photos.
All of these species and sub-species also differ with respect to their habitat. You can observe how some of them live in deep forests with their nests situated up on trees, while some live in open areas and also on ground.
It will also be interesting to see their pairs. Hawk mates exist together for a lifetime. Although photos cannot truly depict this monogamous behavior, still seeing a pair will be heartwarming.
What photos cannot show are their spectacular acrobatic activities. You can search videos to observe their fast flight, impressive dives and overall elegance.