The Accipitridae is the bird family that contains eagles, hawks, and Old World vultures. They are all raptors or birds of prey. Birds of prey feed on other animals. Their prey consists of insects, fish, birds and small mammals.
Members of this family have several characteristics in common. These traits make the Accipitridae excellent hunters. They have very strong hooked beaks for tearing flesh. The vision of these birds of prey is extremely good. This helps them to judge distances well. Their hearing is also strong. Finally, these birds have strong claws that help them to grasp their prey.
Differences between males and females are not great. Females tend to be slightly larger than males.
Birds within the Accipitridae family belong to the Chordata phylum and Aves class. The family includes a variety of eagles, hawks, Old World vultures, kites and harriers.
This family of birds are found on every continent except Antarctica. They can be found in a wide range of habitats that ranges from the tropical rainforest to the desert.
Accipitridae and Humans
Some of the members of this family have become endangered due to human activity. The most destructive human activity is due to habitat destruction. Some species are sensitive to the presence of pesticides in the environment. Low levels of toxins found in their prey may become more highly concentrated in the raptor. This concentration of toxins can affect the birds reproductive ability.
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Hawks and Eagles, The Internet Bird Collection.