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The Diurnal Birds of Prey, Accipitridae  

A head shot of an adult goshawk. Adult goshawk , Accipiter gentilis
Credit: Smith, W.M. / USWFS

The Accipitridae, one of the two major families within the order Falconiformes/Accipitriformes (the diurnal birds of prey*), 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 few feeding on fruit. The Accipitridae have a cosmopolitan distribution, being found on all the world's continents (except Antarctica) and a number of oceanic island groups. Some species are migratory.

Many well-known birds, such as hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures are included in this group. The Osprey is usually placed in a separate family (Pandionidae), as is the Secretary bird (Sagittariidae), and the New World vultures are also usually now regarded as a separate family or order. Karyotype data[1][2][3] indicated that the accipitrids hitherto analysed are indeed a distinct monophyletic group, but whether this group should be considered a family of the Falconiformes or one or several order(s) on their own is a matter of taste.

*)Superorder: Falconimorphae
Order: Strigiformes - The nocturnal birds of preythe owls
Family Strigidae
Family Tytonidae

Falconiformes - birds of prey - Worldwide (60)
Worldwide; 260 species; sometimes all families except Falconidae are separated as Accipitriformes, or the Cathartidae placed in a still separate order, Cathartiformes.
Falconidae: caracaras, falcons, falconets, hobbies, kestrels
Cathartidae: New World vultures, condors
Pandionidae: Osprey
Accipitridae: buzzards, eagles, harriers, hawks, kites, Old World vultures
Sagittaridae: Secretary Bird

Order: (Accipitriformes)
Family: Accipitridae

Subfamily Accipitrinae

Genus Accipiter
Genus Urotriorchis *)
Genus Erythrotriorchis
Genus Megatriorchis

Subfamily Aegypiinae -
Old World vultures
Genus Aegypius
Genus Gyps
Genus Necrosyrtes
Genus Sarcogyps
Genus Torgos
Genus Trigonoceps

Subfamily Gypaetinae
Genus Neophron
Genus Gypohierax
Genus Gypaetus
Genus Eutriorchis

Subfamily Buteoninae
- buteonine hawks, true eagles and
       sea-eagles (c.100 living species, probably poly- or paraphyletic)

Genus Geranoaetus
Genus Buteo
- buteonine hawks (North America) or buzzards (Europe):
      nearly 30 species (probably paraphyletic, might include Leucopternis
      in part and Parabuteo)

Genus Parabuteo
- Harris's Hawk
Genus Buteogallus
- crab hawks: 5 species (probably paraphyletic,
     might include Leucopternis in part and Harpyhaliaetus)

Genus Busarellus
- Black-collared Hawk
Genus Leucopternis
- grey hawks (probably polyphyletic)
Genus Kaupifalco
- Lizard Buzzard *)
Genus Butastur
Genus Harpyhaliaetus
- solitary eagles
Genus Geranospiza

Subfamily Aquilinae
Genus Spizaetus crested hawk-eagles: c.4 species
   Spizaetus tyrannus
   Spizaetus melanoleucus
   Spizaetus ornatus
   Spizaetus isidori

   Spizaetus bartelsi - Javan Hawk Eagle ??
   former Genus Oroaetus and Genus Spizastur
Genus Nisaetus
- c.9 species
Genus Lophaetus
(possibly junior synonym of Ictinaetus)
Genus Stephanoaetus
- Crowned Eagle
Genus Polemaetus
- Martial Eagle
Genus "Hieraaetus"
hawk-eagles: 3 species; Genus name unavailable     or belongs in Aquila
Genus Lophotriorchis
- Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle
Genus Aquila
- true eagles: c.12 species; paraphyletic
Genus Ictinaetus
- Black Eagle

Subfamily Harpiinae
Genus Morphnus
- Crested Eagle
Genus Harpia

Harpy Eagle, Harpia harpyja
Genus Harpyopsis
- Papuan Eagle

Subfamily Haliaeetinae
- sea eagles
Genus Haliaeetus
- sea eagles and brown fish-eagles: 8 species
Genus Ichthyophaga
- grey fish eagles: 2 species

Subfamily Circaetinae
- snake eagles (about 12 species)
Genus Circaetus
Genus Spilornis
Genus Terathopius
Genus Pithecophaga - Philippine Eagle

Subfamily Circinae - - harriers (some 16 living species)
Genus Circus

Subfamily Polyboroidinae
- harrier hawks
Genus Polyboroides

Subfamily Melieraxinae
Genus Melierax
(Micronisus) *)
- goosehawks

Subfamily Elaninae
- elanid kites (8)
Genus Elanus
Genus Chelictinia

Genus Machaerhamphus
Genus Gampsonyx
Genus Elanoides

Subfamily Milvinae
- milvine kites (some 14 species)
Genus Harpagus
Genus Ictinia
Genus Rostrhamus
Genus Helicolestes
Genus Haliastur
Genus Milvus
Genus Lophoictinia
Genus Hamirostra

Subfamily Perninae
Genus Aviceda
Genus Henicopernis
Genus Pernis
Genus Leptodon
Genus Chondrohierax

Unknown family: (but in Accipitridae)
Genus: Dryotriorchis - Congo Serpent Eagle *)

Several of the above genera contains only one species

English Norsk Latin
Congo Serpent-Eagle Kongoslangehauk Dryotriorchis spectabilis
Chestnut-shouldered Goshawk Rødvingehauk Erythrotriorchis buergersi
Red Goshawk Revehauk Erythrotriorchis radiatus
Madagascar Serpent-Eagle Tanalaslangehauk Eutriorchis astur
Lizard Buzzard Øglehauk Kaupifalco monogrammicus
Doria's Goshawk Tigerhauk Megatriorchis doriae
Pale Chanting-Goshawk Bleksanghauk Melierax canorus
Dark Chanting-Goshawk Mørksanghauk Melierax metabates
Eastern Chanting-Goshawk Østsanghauk Melierax poliopterus
Gabar Goshawk Gabarhauk Micronisus gabar (Melierax gabar)
Madagascar Harrier-Hawk Blekklatrehauk Polyboroides radiatus
African Harrier-Hawk Klatrehauk Polyboroides typus
Long-tailed Hawk Langhalehauk Urotriorchis macrourus


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