Hawks are a diverse group of birds adapted to exploit a wide variety of habitats, prey, and climatic conditions. Although varying in size from the 75-gram male tiny hawk (Accipiter supercilliosus) and pearl kite to the 6.5-kilogram female harpy eagle (Harpia spp.), all hawks are distinguished by sharp, strongly hooked bills, a fleshy cere, and strong legs with sharp talons or claws. Most are active and efficient hunters that use their keen vision to target and track suitable prey. The 237 species of hawks are placed in the avian order Falconiformes. Families within this order include the booted eagles, harpy eagles, buteo hawks, subbuteos, chanting goshawks, accipiters, harriers, and kites. Only the fifty-four species of accipiters are strictly considered true hawks, but most raptor biologists and hawk enthusiasts also include the buteo hawks, called buzzards in Europe, within the category of hawks, while the most liberal definition incorporates the kites, harriers, and eagles as well.
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