The Hawk Bird - Hawk Pictures, Hawk Audio And Info


The Hawk Bird - Hawk Pictures, Hawk Audio And Info

The Hawk bird genus are the sprinters of the skies. On this page you will find:
  • Hawk Pictures
  • Hawk audio and video
  • Information on Hawks and the king of Hawks
  • The northern goshawk and other hawk species

I will give an insight into Hawk behaviour and the Hawk genus as well as information on Hawks in Falconry and training methods. To start off the page and to give you an idea of what the hawk family is about, here is a hawk audio video of the hawk bird northern goshawk, the quintessential accipiter. I will then show you some great northern goshawk pictures. Enjoy :)

In this video you can quite clearly see what the Hawk bird genus is about. Hawks (accipiters) are the fastest of all the raptor families over a short distance. They are built entirely for burst speed. The northern goshawk is so fast that when hunting, the average chase time is less than 8 seconds. Whether they then catch the prey or fail is another question!

Accipiters have short rounded wings, long tails and long legs, most hawks are slate blue gray in colour on their backs and horizontally barred and pale on the chest. When the northern goshawk is in juvenile plumage it has vertical barring on its chest and only gets the horizontal barring with maturity.

This contrasts with the northern goshawks smaller but very similar cousin, the sparrowhawk which has the horizontal barring already in juvenile plumage. I must at this point mention that American readers sometimes refer to a Sparrow Hawk as what we call here in the uk, a kestrel.

The kestrel is in fact a member of the falcon family and is not an accipiter. The northern sparrowhawk (accipiter nisus) is a true hawk. The Red Tail Hawk is also not an accipiter but is a member of the buzzard (buteo) family. All accipiters have deep orange to red eyes. The colour becomes more intense with age although the eye colour can also vary considerably between adults of the same species.

The Harris Hawk is also not a true accipiter but is actually half way between the buzzard and hawk all about it in my Harris Hawk Page. Another Prominent Member of the Buteo family is the beautiful Ferruginous Hawk please follow the link to find out more. Also the rare and fascinating Galapagos Hawk is a member of the buteo family. One of the main specialities of accipiters is their incredible ability to hunt in confined spaces. This is shown very clearly in the hawk audio video that I have posted above.

Their long tail is extremely dextrous and through minute movements the hawk is able to navigate through dense forest without catching itself on obstructions.

The accipiters short wings serve two purposes...

1. Short wings enable the hawk to beat at a faster rate. This gives it more initial acceleration.

2. The hawk is able to fly through smaller spaces with its wings fully outstretched than a similar sized Falcon Bird or buzzard like the Red Tail Hawk or the Ferruginous Hawk In these hawk pictures you will be able to see clearly what evolutionary perfection is. The Hawk bird genus are very beautiful, it almost is like nature’s wildest thought moulded into a form...this is what has captivated me for so long.

Hawks in Falconry

Many of the hawk bird group are used in falconry. By far the most commonly flown is the northern goshawk. This expert hunter is revered around the world for its tenacious attitude and ferocious attack power and speed.

Other accipiters commonly found in falconry today are;

  • The northern sparrowhawk (accipiter nisus)
  • The coopers hawk (accipiter cooperii)
  • The shikra (accipiter badius)
  • The black sparrowhawk (accipiter melanoleucus)...

All accipiters live life at twice the speed of other animals and humans. They have very fast metabolisms which gives them their quick reflexes and speed. This means however that they are also very nervous and out of all the raptor species used in falconry they are the hardest to tame (man).

They are also prone to having hypoglycaemic fits and northern goshawks as well as spars (sparrowhawks) have been known to die from this. This is because their blood sugar level can drop very suddenly.

This is why no member of the hawk family should be considered by a beginner falconer. The time and experience necessary for training one successfully is something that only comes with time, however much we may be tempted by a northern goshawk.

Hawk Imprinting

Hawks are quite often imprinted. This means the hawk is hand reared rather than its natural parents. This makes the hawk think it is human and therefore is less inclined to either bate away or attack the falconer. This is a good way of by-passing to a certain extent the hawks natural jumpy nature.

Whether or not to imprint hawks is one of the biggest questions in falconry. Many experienced falconers only fly imprints and many do the complete opposite. Both can work very well. If you are not experienced in the imprinting techniques, do NOT try to imprint the hawk.

It is better to spend more time trying to man a very wild hawk and get slashed to ribbons in the process than kill an eyass (chick) by raising it incorrectly. :)

Hawks And Their Feathers!

Another thing that a falconer has to bare in mind when taking on a hawk bird is the fact that their feathers are very brittle. This means they are very prone to breaking feathers. This occurs mainly in the tail as of course they are very long.

This occurs more with the accipiters than the buteos like the Ferruginous Hawk or Harris Hawk northern goshawk The hawk when hunting will also mantle (crouch low over its prey) and press its tail feathers against the ground. This is a natural mechanism for defence when feeding but it is rather annoying for the falconer as often the hawk will break a tail feather when doing this.

Because of this not completely ideal habit. Falconers that fly accipiters or austringers (correct term) often use a a tail gaurd which they can slip on to the hawks tail when it is feeding on a kill. Also hawk bird falconers must become adept at imping.

Imping is the process whereby a broken feather is fixed. This is done by cutting off the feather stump at the point of the break to make a clean end. Then a small piece of filed bamboo is fitted into the quill of the broken end of the feather. This must fit at both ends to ensure a clean fit. The quill is then inserted into the stump and glued into place.

If the feather is only bent and not broken the process is much simpler. The bent feather (still attached to the hawk) must be lowered into quite hot water. The feather will magically re-shape itself and be as good as new. (Please note, this does not work for the whole hawk and in fact will probably achieve the opposite irate hawk and a falconer hopping around in pain...)

Thank you for reading my hawk bird page and I hope it gave you an insight into the hawk bird group!

Ps..please also feel free to submit a page of your own on the form below. It doesnt have to be anything serious just any experience you have had with a bird of prey, tell us about a bird you own or just simply a day out you had at a falconry center! We would love to hear it and upload your own page!