Hawk is remarkable for its ability to rapidly attack its potential victim, no matter where it hunts, in the open air, or the woods more often. There are about fifty varieties of these birds, which differ among themselves, both in size and color of the plumage.
Description of a hawk
Hawks are birds of prey belonging to the family of Accipitridae. Different types of hawks are different sizes of their bodies, growing up to 0.7 meters long and gaining weight, ranging from 1.5 kg, while the Eurasian sparrow hawk is slightly smaller in size (only 0.35 m) and has a smaller mass (about 0.4 kg).
The appearance of a hawk
Appearance, as well as the structure of the bird, depends on the way of life, as well as the nature of habitats. This bird has a vision that is 8 times superior to that of humans. Due to the special location of the eyes (closer to the beak), the brain is formed a binocular (three-dimensional) images of various, including moving, objects.
In adults, the eyes are colored yellow or yellow-orange, although sometimes there are individuals with the presence of red or reddish-brown hue. As they grow older, the iris gradually lightens. This predator has a strong, hooked beak, and they do not have a characteristic tooth on top of the super-beak, which is typical for some species of birds of prey.
There are no feathers on the fingers and down to the knees, but above you can see the plumage, which gives the impression that the bird has short pants. The limbs of the bird are quite strong and muscular. We can not say that the wings are large and sharp, and the tail, both long and wide, with or without rounding at the end. The upper part of the body is darker than the lower part, with the main color in gray or brown tones. The lower part of the body is made with the presence of white, yellowish, or light ochre shades. On this background, there is always a transverse or longitudinal contrast ripple.
Characteristics of behavior and lifestyle
Hawks prefer to live in forest thickets, forming for themselves nests on the highest trees to control their hunting grounds, placed on areas from 100 to 150 km square. This predator feels perfectly well in the dense thickets of tall trees, having unique flight characteristics. He can easily maneuver in the tree crowns in any direction, instantly turns around, and suddenly stops, so his victims have almost no chance of rescue. Such flight characteristics are possible due to the compact size of the body and the shape of its wings. The peculiarity of hunting a hawk is its lightning attack in the direction of its victim, which it looks for while in an ambush. He grabs his prey with strong paws and compresses it powerfully. As a result, the victim gets injuries that are incompatible with life, thanks to the presence of strong and sharp claws. As a rule, a hawk eats its prey completely, with giblets and feathers, as well as with bones. This allows the predator to get all the necessary nutrients.
Hawks do not differ in unique voice data. They can be recognized by the abrupt “ki-ki-ki” or long “ki-i, ki-i, ki-i”. When you hear such sounds coming from the forest, you can safely say that a hawk lives nearby in the forest. At the same time, it should be noted that there are kinds of singing hawks that make more melodic sounds. Once a year, after the appearance of a new offspring of hawks, they molt, and the molting process may last for 2 years.
How many years do hawks live?
Specialists say that being in the wild, hawks live to 12-17 years. Under the nests of hawks like to nest various small birds, to which the hawks are absolutely indifferent. This allows the birds to escape from their natural enemies.
Hawks are predatory birds, which are found almost on all continents except the Arctic. These birds can easily be found throughout Eurasia, from the forest-tundra zone to the southernmost points of this continent. These predators have adapted to the conditions of Africa and Australia, North and South America. They inhabit the Philippines, Indonesia and Tasmania, Ceylon, Madagascar, and many other islands.
These birds are found in the conditions of Savannah and tropical jungle, in broad-leaved, as well as in coniferous forests, on the plains, and in the mountains. Typically, they prefer to nest on the edges, in sparse forests, and coastal forest plantations. Some species of hawks prefer to live in open areas of the landscape. Hawks living in temperate latitudes mainly lead a sedentary lifestyle, while those living in northern latitudes prefer to winter in warmer regions and also go to southern countries.
What do hawks eat?
The diet of hawks is based on small or medium-sized birds, and they hunt small mammals of amphibians, reptiles, fish, and insects. The hawk menu consists of small birds representing a family of Old World sparrow, such as:
- Yellowhammer, a sparrow.
- Darwin’s finches, chaffinches
- Wagtails, Leaf warblers, and tits.
Larger species of hawks hunt for larger birds, including domestic and waterfowl.
Also, hawks hunt small animals such as squirrels, hares, ermines, rats, and other rodents. Among the insects included in the hawks’ menu are dragonflies, grasshoppers, locusts, and various beetles.
Reproduction and offspring
Hawks form pairs once and for all their lives, upholstered on the same territory for many years. The pair forms a nest for themselves in advance, choosing a tall tree and placing the nest near the trunk of the tree. Some species build a new nest for themselves every year, choosing a tall tree for this, and some prefer to live permanently in the old nest. The female lays 3-4 eggs, after which she hatches them for a month. During this period, the male feeds not only himself but also the female.
After the appearance of offspring, the male continues to obtain food for his family, but feeding is not engaged. When the male catches the prey, he signals to the female, after which she flies to the meeting of the male and takes the carcass. After that, she is engaged in its cutting, as well as distribution among its family.
The newborn offspring is different from their parents, both in size and color of their eyes, because they resemble black shiny beads. From these eyes, the female determines when to feed her chicks. As a rule, when the chicks are not hungry, they turn to the female with the backside and she does not see the expression of their eyes.
The female feeds her offspring (together with the male) for a month or a little more. After the appearance of their chicks at the end of June, by the middle of August, they can fly. After that, parents feed the young for a month and a half more. After this time they leave their parents’ nest, and already in the second year of life, they can form pairs.
The main enemies of adult hawks are a man and his life activities associated with the reduction of natural conditions. As for young hawks, they may find themselves in the teeth of some predatory animals, if they are on the ground, and in the air, they may be waiting for large birds of prey, including their own, more adult congeners.