Hawk is a general term for a large group of prey’s birds of the order Falconiformes. There are about 270 species of hawks found on every continent except Antarctica. Hawks live in various types of habitats: forests, marshes, rainforests, open savannas, prairies, mountains, grasslands, and the coastal regions.
The color of their plumages ranges from pale whitish below and reddish brown or gray on top. They usually have dark streaks or spots on the legs, chest, and beck, and dark tail and wing bars.
The red-tailed hawk is very common in North America. Previous observations have revealed that while hawks can easily adapt to any surrounding, the birds prefer an open habitat. Hawks normally like habitat in areas like fields and deserts, possibly to make it easier to locate prey.
Able to live anywhere, you can find them in tropical, moist areas and mountainous plains. Hawks have even been lived in places such as the West Indies, Central America, and even Jamaica.
Like many birds, the hawk migrates in the spring and the autumn. Different kinds of hawks choose different times in both of the seasons to migrate south or north. In fact, the entire autumn migration season goes all the way from August to halfway through December.
Long-distance travelers tend to start in early autumn whereas the short-distance travelers start much later. Therefore, the longer the distance to be covered the earlier, the bird begins its journey.
A hawk diet is so predictable in that it includes a selection of smaller animals. Some of these small animals may include lizards, snakes, mice, fish, rabbits, birds, squirrels, and any other kind of tiny game that’s found on the ground. More precisely, a red-shouldered hawk prefers to eat smaller birds such as doves and bugs such as crickets and grasshoppers.
Certain hawk species (such as Cooper’s hawk) are endangered because of chemical pollution that induces eggs destruction. Other factors which affect the survival of hawks in the wild are collisions with cars, excessive hunt, and destruction of nesting areas. Read on to get more interesting facts about Hawks.
1. Hawks have exceptional vision. Hawks have over one million photoreceptors per square millimeter compared to human’s 200,000 photoreceptors per square millimeter. Hawks can see up to eight times more clearly than even the sharpest human eye. Eyesight is mainly used for hunting.
2. In a year, a female hawk will lay one to five eggs. Both the female and the male will cater and protect the eggs for nearly one month until they hatch. They will also develop their nest before the start of the mating season and will continue to improve it together during the nesting season.
3. Hawks differ in size based on the species. Largest hawk weighs up to five pounds. Smallest hawk (American Kestrel) weighs only four ounces. Females are bigger than males. Large hawk species reach a length of 22 inches, with the wingspan of 55 inches.
4. Hawks are also opportunistic feeders. That means they hunt and eat any available food. Mostly, they hunt rabbits, insects, frogs, squirrels, snakes, rats, and smaller birds.
5. Smaller species lays three to five eggs; larger hawk species lay one or two eggs. Young hawks develop very fast. Smaller hawk species may reach adult size in a month, whereas the larger species become fully grown after eleven weeks.
6. Fantastic dance in the air precedes mating. Males perform a series of acrobatics in the air which may last up to ten minutes.
7. Hawks can dive 150 mph through the air when hunting. They can catch a prey both on the ground and in the air.