Hawk

Hawk

Overview
The term hawk can be used in several ways:
  • In strict usage in Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

     and Africa
    Africa
    Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

    , to mean any of the species
    Species
    In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

     in the subfamily Accipitrinae
    Accipitrinae
    The Accipitrinae is the subfamily of the Accipitridae often known as the "true" hawks, including all members of Accipiter and the closely related genera Melierax, Urotriorchis, Erythrotriorchis and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread genus Accipiter includes goshawks, sparrowhawks, the...

    , which comprises the genera
    Genus
    In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

     Accipiter
    Accipiter
    The genus Accipiter is a group of birds of prey in the family Accipitridae, many of which are named as goshawks and sparrowhawks. They can be anatomically distinguished from their relatives by the lack of a procoracoid foramen. Two small and aberrant species usually placed here do possess a large...

    , Micronisus, Melierax
    Melierax
    Melierax is a genus of bird of prey in the Accipitridae family.It contains the following species:* Dark Chanting Goshawk * Pale Chanting Goshawk * Eastern Chanting Goshawk...

    , Urotriorchis and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread Accipiter
    Accipiter
    The genus Accipiter is a group of birds of prey in the family Accipitridae, many of which are named as goshawks and sparrowhawks. They can be anatomically distinguished from their relatives by the lack of a procoracoid foramen. Two small and aberrant species usually placed here do possess a large...

    genus includes goshawk
    Goshawk (disambiguation)
    -Bird species:* Species of birds of prey, mainly in the genus Accipiter:** Northern Goshawk, Accipiter gentilis** Crested Goshawk, Accipiter trivirgatus** Sulawesi Goshawk, Accipiter griseiceps** Red-chested Goshawk, Accipiter toussenelii...

    s, sparrowhawks, the Sharp-shinned Hawk
    Sharp-shinned Hawk
    The Sharp-shinned Hawk is a small hawk. In fact, "sharp-shins" or "sharpies" are the smallest to reside in USA and Canada, though some Neotropical species are smaller...

     and others. These are mainly woodland birds with long tails and high visual acuity, hunting by sudden dashes from a concealed perch.
  • More generally (especially in North America
    North America
    North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

    ) to mean falcon
    Falcon
    A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America....

    s or small to medium-sized members of the Accipitridae
    Accipitridae
    The Accipitridae, one of the two major families within the order Accipitriformes , 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...

    —the family which includes the "true hawks" as well as eagle
    Eagle
    Eagles are members of the bird family Accipitridae, and belong to several genera which are not necessarily closely related to each other. Most of the more than 60 species occur in Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just two species can be found in the United States and Canada, nine more in...

    s, kite
    Kite (bird)
    Kites are raptors with long wings and weak legs which spend a great deal of time soaring. Most feed mainly on carrion but some take various amounts of live prey.They are birds of prey which, along with hawks and eagles, are from the family Accipitridae....

    s, harrier
    Harrier (bird)
    A harrier is any of the several species of diurnal hawks forming the Circinae sub-family of the Accipitridae family of birds of prey. Harriers characteristically hunt by flying low over open ground, feeding on small mammals, reptiles, or birds....

    s and buzzard
    Buzzard
    A buzzard is one of several large birds, but there are a number of meanings as detailed below.-Old World:In the Old World Buzzard can mean:* One of several medium-sized, wide-ranging raptors with a robust body and broad wings....

    s.
  • Loosely, to mean almost any bird of prey
    Bird of prey
    Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh....

     outside of the order Strigiformes (owls).

The common names of birds in various parts of the world often use hawk in the second sense.
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Encyclopedia
The term hawk can be used in several ways:
  • In strict usage in Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

     and Africa
    Africa
    Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

    , to mean any of the species
    Species
    In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

     in the subfamily Accipitrinae
    Accipitrinae
    The Accipitrinae is the subfamily of the Accipitridae often known as the "true" hawks, including all members of Accipiter and the closely related genera Melierax, Urotriorchis, Erythrotriorchis and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread genus Accipiter includes goshawks, sparrowhawks, the...

    , which comprises the genera
    Genus
    In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

     Accipiter
    Accipiter
    The genus Accipiter is a group of birds of prey in the family Accipitridae, many of which are named as goshawks and sparrowhawks. They can be anatomically distinguished from their relatives by the lack of a procoracoid foramen. Two small and aberrant species usually placed here do possess a large...

    , Micronisus, Melierax
    Melierax
    Melierax is a genus of bird of prey in the Accipitridae family.It contains the following species:* Dark Chanting Goshawk * Pale Chanting Goshawk * Eastern Chanting Goshawk...

    , Urotriorchis and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread Accipiter
    Accipiter
    The genus Accipiter is a group of birds of prey in the family Accipitridae, many of which are named as goshawks and sparrowhawks. They can be anatomically distinguished from their relatives by the lack of a procoracoid foramen. Two small and aberrant species usually placed here do possess a large...

    genus includes goshawk
    Goshawk (disambiguation)
    -Bird species:* Species of birds of prey, mainly in the genus Accipiter:** Northern Goshawk, Accipiter gentilis** Crested Goshawk, Accipiter trivirgatus** Sulawesi Goshawk, Accipiter griseiceps** Red-chested Goshawk, Accipiter toussenelii...

    s, sparrowhawks, the Sharp-shinned Hawk
    Sharp-shinned Hawk
    The Sharp-shinned Hawk is a small hawk. In fact, "sharp-shins" or "sharpies" are the smallest to reside in USA and Canada, though some Neotropical species are smaller...

     and others. These are mainly woodland birds with long tails and high visual acuity, hunting by sudden dashes from a concealed perch.
  • More generally (especially in North America
    North America
    North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

    ) to mean falcon
    Falcon
    A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America....

    s or small to medium-sized members of the Accipitridae
    Accipitridae
    The Accipitridae, one of the two major families within the order Accipitriformes , 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...

    —the family which includes the "true hawks" as well as eagle
    Eagle
    Eagles are members of the bird family Accipitridae, and belong to several genera which are not necessarily closely related to each other. Most of the more than 60 species occur in Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just two species can be found in the United States and Canada, nine more in...

    s, kite
    Kite (bird)
    Kites are raptors with long wings and weak legs which spend a great deal of time soaring. Most feed mainly on carrion but some take various amounts of live prey.They are birds of prey which, along with hawks and eagles, are from the family Accipitridae....

    s, harrier
    Harrier (bird)
    A harrier is any of the several species of diurnal hawks forming the Circinae sub-family of the Accipitridae family of birds of prey. Harriers characteristically hunt by flying low over open ground, feeding on small mammals, reptiles, or birds....

    s and buzzard
    Buzzard
    A buzzard is one of several large birds, but there are a number of meanings as detailed below.-Old World:In the Old World Buzzard can mean:* One of several medium-sized, wide-ranging raptors with a robust body and broad wings....

    s.
  • Loosely, to mean almost any bird of prey
    Bird of prey
    Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh....

     outside of the order Strigiformes (owls).

The common names of birds in various parts of the world often use hawk in the second sense. For example, the Osprey
Osprey
The Osprey , sometimes known as the sea hawk or fish eagle, is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey. It is a large raptor, reaching more than in length and across the wings...

 or "fish hawk"; or, in North America, the various Buteo species (e.g., the Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
The Red-tailed Hawk is a bird of prey, one of three species colloquially known in the United States as the "chickenhawk," though it rarely preys on standard sized chickens. It breeds throughout most of North America, from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West...

, B. jamaicensis).

In February 2005, the Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 ornithologist Louis Lefebvre announced a method of measuring avian "IQ" in terms of their innovation in feeding habits. Hawks were named among the most intelligent birds based on his scale. Hawks are widely reputed to have visual acuity
Visual acuity
Visual acuity is acuteness or clearness of vision, which is dependent on the sharpness of the retinal focus within the eye and the sensitivity of the interpretative faculty of the brain....

 several times that of a normal human being. This is due to the many photoreceptors in the retina
Retina
The vertebrate retina is a light-sensitive tissue lining the inner surface of the eye. The optics of the eye create an image of the visual world on the retina, which serves much the same function as the film in a camera. Light striking the retina initiates a cascade of chemical and electrical...

 (up to 1,000,000 per square mm for Buteo, against 200,000 for humans), an exceptional number of nerves
Neuron
A neuron is an electrically excitable cell that processes and transmits information by electrical and chemical signaling. Chemical signaling occurs via synapses, specialized connections with other cells. Neurons connect to each other to form networks. Neurons are the core components of the nervous...

 connecting these receptors to the brain
Brain
The brain is the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals—only a few primitive invertebrates such as sponges, jellyfish, sea squirts and starfishes do not have one. It is located in the head, usually close to primary sensory apparatus such as vision, hearing,...

, and an indented fovea
Fovea
The fovea centralis, also generally known as the fovea , is a part of the eye, located in the center of the macula region of the retina....

, which magnifies the central portion of the visual field
Visual field
The term visual field is sometimes used as a synonym to field of view, though they do not designate the same thing. The visual field is the "spatial array of visual sensations available to observation in introspectionist psychological experiments", while 'field of view' "refers to the physical...

.

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