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The accipiters are generally smaller than the buteos. Their shorter, rounded wings and long tails make them agile hunters of birds, which they catch on the wing. Familiar accipiters include Cooper's hawk (Accipiter cooperii) and the sharp-shinned hawk (A. striatus).

Old World accipiters include:

  • Japanese sparrowhawk (Accipiter gularis). Japan, China, and the eastern parts of the former Soviet Union.
  • Besra (Accipiter virgatus). Resident of the Himalayas, southeast Asia, and the East Indies.
  • African goshawk (Accipiter tachiro). Resident of Africa, south of the Sahara.
  • Crested goshawk (Accipiter trivirgatus). Resident of southern Asia, the Philippines, and Borneo.
  • Australian goshawk (Accipiter fasciatus). Resident of Australia, New Guinea, Flores, Timor, and Christmas Island.
  • France's sparrowhawk (Accipiter francessi). Resident of Madagascar.

North American accipiters and their status are as follows:

  • Sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus). Dramatic decline in the eastern United States in the early 1970s. Between 8-13% of the eggs showed shell thinning. Their numbers recovered somewhat through the early 1980s, but more recently, the numbers in the east have declined.
  • Cooper's hawk (Accipiter cooperi). A serious decline underwent a slight reversal after the ban of DDT in 1972. Their numbers appear to be stable in most areas.
  • Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis). Population formerly declined in the north, while expanding in the southeast. Eggshell thinning was reported in some areas in the early 1970s. Today the range is expanding in the northeast, but populations in the southwestern mountains may be threatened by loss of habitat.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Habit memory: to HeterodontHawks - Buteos, Accipiters, Kites, Harriers, Characteristics And Behavior, Hawks And Humans