|The genus Accipiter is a group of birds of prey in
the family Accipitridae, many of which are named as goshawks
sparrowhawks. They can be anatomically distinguished from their
relatives by the lack of a procoracoid foramen.
(Procoracoid is a relatively large bone and typically bears
an enormous projecting keel to which the flight
muscles are attached. Foramen = any opening. Anyone who can
explain to me??? see e-mail below)
Two small and aberrant species usually placed here do possess
a large procoracoid foramen and are also distinct as
regards DNA sequence. They may warrant separation in the old
These birds are slender with short broad rounded wings and a
long tail which helps them manoeuvre in flight.
They have long legs and long sharp talons used to kill their
prey, and a sharp hooked bill used in feeding.
Females tend to be larger than males.
They often ambush their prey, mainly small birds and mammals,
capturing it after a short chase. The typical flight pattern
is a series of flaps followed by a short glide. They are commonly
found in wooded or shrubby areas.
Lots of birds in the buteo
family and some eagles are also called hawks.