Hawk is a common name for some birds of prey of varying size and distributed wildly. It is used to refer to various small to medium sized falconiform birds particularly those in the genus Accipiter (true hawks) including goshawks and sparrowhawks. It is a diurnal predatory bird (active by day) with approximately 720 species worldwide.
All hawks have certain basic similarities such as keen eyesight, hooked beaks and taloned feet; however, diversity of forms and sizes exist between them. For instance the Bald Eagle weighs 13 pounds while the American Kestrel only weighs 4 ounces. Female hawks are bigger than male hawks and in some species can weigh twice as much as the male.
Hawks known for their keen eyesight have four types of colour receptors in the eye. These receptors give the birds the ability to perceive a wide visible range and to see the ultraviolet range of the spectrum. They have the best eyesight in the animal world and their visual acuity is eight times better than humans. The curved talons of the hawks are used for capturing prey and their strong beaks for tearing flesh.
Most hawks mate for life however is a partner dies the remaining hawk will find a new partner immediately. Some pairs remain together even after the breeding seasons while others separate. They are partial to their breeding site, returning to it and to their mate after migration. Migration can start in the autumn and/or in spring, some migrate south and some north, and there are short distance travelers and long distance travelers.
Hawks prefer habitats that are open like deserts and fields making it easier to find a prey. Hawks can easily live anywhere without any problems They are easily found in mountainous plains and tropical moist areas in Central America, the West Indies, and even Jamaica. Hawks consume a variety of smaller animals including snakes, lizards, fish, mice, squirrels, rabbits and any other type of small animal found on the ground. The Red-tailed Hawk is known to consume rodents while the Red-shouldered Hawk likes to eat smaller birds like doves and bugs like grasshoppers and crickets.
Large hawks lay only one or two eggs per year while the small ones lay three to five eggs. Incubation takes about three to six weeks and after hatching the young hawks grow fairly quickly. They would stay with their parents for several weeks before attaining total independence and leave the nest.
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