Birds of Prey

Goshawk Head Detail


Philippine Serpent-Eagle - Spilornis holospilus

The Accipitridae includes many of the diurnal birds of prey, including hawks, eagles and relatives. It is one of the largest avian families – with 233 species in 67 genera recognized by the Howard and Moore Checklist of the Birds of the World. Twenty-four of these species occur in North America.

Several species occur in the tundra, others in alpine meadows and some in rainforests.

Breeding habits are diverse as well, some nest on cliffs, in trees and occasionally on the ground.

They feed on a wide range of prey items, which may include insects, small to medium-sized mammals, some may eat carrion (dead animals) – a few feed on fruit.


Species Index

  • Subfamily Elaninae – elanid kites (8 species)
  • Subfamily Perninae – honey-buzzards (c.14 species)
  • Subfamily Buteoninae – buteonine hawks, true eagles and sea-eagles (c.100 living species, probably poly- or paraphyletic)
  • Subfamily Circinae – harriers (some 16 living species)
  • Subfamily Milvinae – milvine kites (some 14 species)
  • Subfamily Accipitrinae – goshawks, sparrowhawks, and relatives (c.55 living species)
  • Subfamily Circaetinae – snake-eagles (about one dozen species)



  • Subfamily Buteoninae – hawks (buzzards), true eagles and sea-eagles

Cape Vulture

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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