Hawks, Eagles (Family Accipitridae)
The Accipitridae is one of the two major families within Order
Accipitriformes (the diurnal birds of prey). Many well-known birds,
such as hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures are
included in this group. The osprey is usually placed in a separate
family (Pandionidae) and the New World vultures are also usually
now regarded as a separate family or order.
The accipitrids are a family of small to large birds with strongly hooked
bills and variable morphology based on diet. They feed on a range of
prey items from insects to medium-sized mammals, with a number
feeding on carrion and a few feeding on fruit. The Accipitridae have a
cosmopolitan distribution, being found on all the world's continents
(except Antarctica) and a number of oceanic island groups. Some spe-
cies are migratory.
The Accipitridae are a diverse family with a great deal of variation in
size and shape. They range in size from the tiny pearl kite and little
sparrowhawk, both of which are 23 cm in length and weigh about 85 g,
to the cinereous vulture, which measures 108 cm and weighs 10 kg.
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