Accipiter hawk

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Accipiter hawk
Northern goshawk1.jpg
Northern goshawk
Accipiter gentilis
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Bilateria
Branch Deuterostomia
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Class Information
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Aves
Sub-class Neornithes
Infra-class Neoaves
Order Information
Superorder Passerimorphae
Order Accipitriformes
Infraorder Falconides
Family Information
Family Accipitridae
Sub-family Accipitrinae
Genus Information
Genus Accipiter
Population statistics

Accipiter hawk refers to 48 species of bird of prey, whose primary characteristic as opposed to the buteo or buzzard hawks is the ability to hunt in dense woodlands. Small to medium-sized, accipiter hawks bear short, rounded wings and long tails, making them highly maneuverable in forests.


Accipiter hawk females are significantly larger than the males, the dimensions overlap only slightly. In some of the pure bird hunters, this reverse sex dimorphism is the most pronounced among all birds of prey. Among the smallest species, such as the tiny hawk (Accipiter superciliosus), the males have a length of 7.8 inches and a body weight of 2.1 ounces, while the female of largest species, the northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), has a length of up to 24.8 inches long and a body weight of up to 4.8 pounds.

In almost all species, the top is very dark gray or blackish and the underside is a sharply contrasting light color, with finely transversed barring. In particular tropical species are often characterized by reddish tints on the underside and the neck very colorful. Flight and tail feathers are usually darkly banded. Young birds are generally much less strikingly colored and, on the other hand, mostly brownish and on the other side lighter brownish with dark lines.

The typical proportions are well recognizable even in the flight, almost all kinds also have a typical flight mode with some fast wing kicks and a subsequent short gliding phase. These hawks also show a very upright posture when perched, which often allows for the determination of the genus at a very great distance.

Range and habitat

Accipiter hawks are found on all continents except Antarctica, with most species living in the tropics. The greatest diversity of species is in Southeast Asia and Oceania, where numerous species are endemic on individual islands or groups of islands. All species show a close connection to forests or at least woody habitats.

Diet and hunting

Accipiter hawks hunt their prey mainly from a short, fast pursuit flight near ground level upwards towards the canopy. Natural structures such as hedges, trees, and houses are also used very cleverly for a covered approach. The birds are extremely agile when hunting.

Many species are specialized birdwatchers, but a number of other species kill a wide range of vertebrate animals as well as insects, with birds often only a small part of the diet.


All species, as far as known, are monogamous and strictly territorial. The nest is made of interwoven branches on trees. The incubation of the eggs and the care of the small birds is carried out almost exclusively by the female, while the male feeds the female and then the chicks with food.