Birds – The Accipitridae

The Accipitridae

The Accipitridae

The Accipitridae

In this article we will see: “The Accipitridae“, birds, diverse and captivating, grace our skies with their melodies. From vibrant plumage to impressive flights, they captivate with endless wonders.

The Accipitridae

Comprising an impressive 208 species, the avian family under consideration stands as the largest within its order. While its members may range from majestic eagles to agile harriers, their classification hinges on shared anatomical features. Notable among these are distinctive traits such as the arrangement of nostrils, the presence of a cecum in the intestine, and the count of cervical vertebrae. Eagles and buzzards, distinguished by their broad and robustly fingered wings, set themselves apart. Unlike many of their avian counterparts, these raptors exhibit a remarkable ability to hover and spiral gracefully through the air for extended periods.

This family’s rich diversity not only showcases the incredible adaptability of birds within this order but also highlights the subtle yet crucial anatomical commonalities that unite them, fostering a deeper understanding of their evolutionary relationships and ecological roles. As we explore the intricacies of these fascinating creatures, we unveil the intricate tapestry of nature woven through shared characteristics and distinctive behaviors.

The beak is strong and so are the legs and talons. Kites (birds) are characterized by their bent wings and especially by their long and indented tails. They are excellent gliders, feeding more on carcasses than on live preys. As for the harriers, if they sometimes rise as high as their cousins – eagles, it is rather common too getting involved in by swaying a few meters above the ground or maneuvering between the reeds.

Finally, vultures and hawks are distinguished by their short wings, and at the same broad and rounded at their ends, they are also distinguished by their long and flexible tail which allows to abrupt changes of direction. Discreet by nature, they prefer staying in the woods and behind the dense foliage where other birds of prey hardly risk themselves. Daring and fiery hunters, they are capable of brutal acceleration, breathtaking volt-faces (about-faces), and unplanned stops.

The Accipitridae

The Accipitridae

Pursuing their prey tenaciously, very fast in short-distanced-flights, they easily weave their way through the labyrinth of coppicing and branches, using their long legs to grab small mammals and especially birds, on which they feed almost exclusively. Much larger than their companions, females are particularly active. All present on the throat, belly level, underside of wings and tail, alternating bright and dark horizontal stripes. A third smaller than his mate, the male shows a different and more colorful livery among sparrow-hawks. There are 51 species in the world including 3 in Europe.

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A final word

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