Falco superciliosusLinnaeus, 1766
The tiny hawk (Microspizias superciliosus) is a small diurnal bird of prey found in or near forests, primarily humid, throughout much of the Neotropics. It is primarily a bird-eater, and is known to prey on hummingbirds.
The tiny hawk was formally described by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1766 in the twelfth edition of his Systema Naturae under the binomial name Falco superciliosus. Linnaeus specified the locality as Suriname.The specific epithet superciliosus is Latin meaning "eye-browed".
There are two subspecies separated by the northern Andes. The two differ most significantly in relative tail length; differences in size and color are small, and can be hard to distinguish.
The tiny hawk and its sister species, the upland-dwelling semicollared hawk ("A." collaris), form a superspecies.
Tiny hawk is the only species of Accipiter yet studied which has a large procoracoid foramen. It also differs from the typical sparrowhawks in other respects of its anatomy and in its DNA sequence. Consequently, its old name Hieraspiza superciliosa may be more appropriate.In 2021, a phylogenetic study found it and the semicollared hawk to form a distinct group from the rest of Accipiter, that is sister to Kaupifalco . For this reason, both were reclassified into the new genus Microspizias .
The tiny hawk is aptly named; males measure 20 cm (7.9 in), about the size of a starling, though females are slightly larger at 26.5 cm (10.5 in). It is one of the smallest true raptors in the world and is one of the smallest Accipiter species, though the little sparrowhawk of Africa is of similar or even smaller size. The birds range in weight from 75 to 120 g (2.6 to 4.2 oz) As with most raptors, there is considerable sexual dimorphism in size, with females measuring up to 25% longer and as much as 60% heavier than males.
The adult male tiny hawk is dark slaty gray above, with a mottled gray face, a paler gray supercilium, and a blackish crown and nape. The white underparts are covered with fine gray barring, except on the unmarked throat. The longish tail is dark with three paler gray bands. Adult females are similar, but browner above with buffier underparts and browner barring below. The cere and legs of all ages are yellow, and the bill, which is relatively heavy, is gray. Adults have red or red-brown irises, while those of immatures often are yellowish. Unlike most accipiters, the tiny hawk's tail is quite short; it is squared or notched at the tip. Its wings are medium-length, with pointed tips, and its legs and toes are long.
Immature birds come in two color morphs: the brown and the rufous. Brown morph birds are dark sooty-brown above, finely barred with black, and white below, heavily barred with cinnamon. Rufous morph immatures are more chestnut above, and barred with rufous (rather than cinnamon) on the underparts. They also have duskier heads and brighter rufous tails than do brown morph birds.
The call of the tiny hawk is a shrill, high-pitched, somewhat quavery series of 20–30 notes of uneven pitch. After an initial few accelerating notes, the call settles into a steady rhythm, variously transcribed as caucau-ca-ca-ca, keer-keer-keer or kree-ree-ree-ree.
Tiny hawks are patchily distributed from eastern Nicaragua down to western Ecuador, northern Bolivia, northern Argentina, Paraguay and southern Brazil. They frequent humid and wet lowland forests (including second growth) and forested foothills from sea level to about 1800 meters (5900 ft), though most records come from elevations below 1000 m (3300 ft). The species is believed to be fairly sedentary.
On clear mornings (and occasionally in late afternoons), the tiny hawk will sometimes sun itself on a high open branch.Occasionally, pairs will sun together. Otherwise, this is a secretive species and easily overlooked. It generally hunts from a perch, located anywhere from the undergrowth to the canopy, though most often in the middle story. When hunting in low growth, it often flashes from one perch to another in rapid succession. It is a fast flier; instead of the typical flap-flap-glide cadence of the accipiters, it makes a few quick flaps and then briefly closes its wings before flapping again. Tiny hawks occasionally soar above the forest canopy.
Like all accipiters, the tiny hawk feeds primarily on birds. It hunts hummingbirds and small passerines, typically darting out from a place of concealment to snatch them as they pass by, but also ambushing them when the smaller birds are perched. There is some evidence that it learns the regular perches of some hummingbirds and hunts for them there.However, the species cannot be considered a specialist predator of hummingbirds. Some individuals also hunt rodents and bats.
Little is known about the tiny hawk's breeding biology. Their breeding season may vary depending on their location; from Panama to Colombia, it apparently runs between February and June, while in the southern part of the range, it may range from October to January.They are known to build stick nests, at least sometimes in the canopy of tall trees. In Venezuela, there is a record of a pair nesting in an old black-collared hawk nest. Females lay one to three bluish-white eggs, faintly streaked and spotted with brown. Incubation and fledging periods are not known.
The sharp-shinned hawk or northern sharp-shinned hawk, commonly known as a sharpie, is a small hawk, with males being the smallest hawks in the United States and Canada, but with the species averaging larger than some Neotropical species, such as the tiny hawk. The taxonomy is far from resolved, with some authorities considering the southern taxa to represent three separate species: white-breasted hawk, plain-breasted hawk, and rufous-thighed hawk. The American Ornithological Society keeps all four variations conspecific.
Accipiter is a genus of birds of prey in the family Accipitridae. With 49 recognized species it is the most diverse genus in its family. Most species are called goshawks or sparrowhawks, although almost all New World species are simply known as hawks. They can be anatomically distinguished from their relatives by the lack of a procoracoid foramen. Two small and aberrant species usually placed here do possess a large procoracoid foramen and are also distinct as regards DNA sequence. They may warrant separation in the old genus Hieraspiza.
The Accipitrinae are the subfamily of the Accipitridae often known as the "true" hawks, including all members of Accipiter and the closely related genera Erythrotriorchis, and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread genus Accipiter includes goshawks, sparrowhawks, the sharp-shinned hawk and others. They are primarily woodland birds that hunt by sudden dashes from a concealed perch, with long tails, broad wings and high visual acuity facilitating this lifestyle. In light of recent genetic research, the kites of the traditional subfamily Milvinae may also belong to this group.
The shikra is a small bird of prey in the family Accipitridae found widely distributed in Asia and Africa where it is also called the little banded goshawk. The African forms may represent a separate species but have usually been considered as subspecies of the shikra. The shikra is very similar in appearance to other sparrowhawk species including the Chinese goshawk and Eurasian sparrowhawk. They have a sharp two note call and have the typical flap and glide flight. Their calls are imitated by drongos and the common hawk-cuckoo resembles it in plumage.
The lizard buzzard, or lizard hawk, is a bird of prey in the family Accipitridae. It is native to Sub-Saharan Africa. Despite its name, it may be more closely related to the Accipiter hawks than the Buteo buzzards.
The Levant sparrowhawk is a small bird of prey. It measures 32–38 cm (13–15 in) in length with a wingspan of 65–75 cm (26–30 in). The female is larger than the male, but the difference is not as marked as with Eurasian sparrowhawk. The adult male is blue-grey above, with dark wingtips, and barred reddish below.
The plumbeous kite is a bird of prey in the family Accipitridae that is resident in much of northern South America. It is migratory in the northern part of its range which extends north to Mexico. It feeds on insects which it catches either from a perch or while in flight.
The gray-headed kite is a raptor found in open woodland and swamp forests. It shares the genus Leptodon with the extremely rare white-collared kite. It breeds from eastern Mexico and Trinidad south to Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and northern Argentina.
The gray-lined hawk is a smallish raptor found in open country and forest edges. It is sometimes placed in the genus Asturina as Asturina nitida. The species has been split by the American Ornithological Society from the gray hawk. The gray-lined hawk is found from El Salvador to Argentina, as well as on the Caribbean island of Trinidad.
The white-tailed hawk is a large bird of prey species found in tropical and subtropical environments of the Americas.
The semicollared hawk is a rare bird of prey species in the family Accipitridae. It is found in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It is potentially being affected by habitat loss.
The red-thighed sparrowhawk, alternatively known as the red-legged sparrowhawk or western little sparrowhawk, is a species of sparrowhawk in the family Accipitridae from western and northern central Africa.
Henst's goshawk is a species of bird of prey in the family Accipitridae. It is a large, diurnal bird endemic to the island of Madagascar. It is an obligate forest species that occurs at very low densities on the island and is rarely seen. It can only occupy the primary and secondary forests found within the island. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forest, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest, subtropical or tropical moist montane forest, and plantations.
The rufous-breasted sparrowhawk, also known as the rufous-chested sparrowhawk and as the red-breasted sparrowhawk, is a species of bird of prey in the family Accipitridae. It is found in Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The African goshawk is an African species of bird of prey in the genus Accipiter which is the type genus of the family Accipitridae.
The rufous crab hawk or rufous crab-hawk, is a Near Threatened species of bird of prey in subfamily Accipitrinae, the "true" hawks, of family Accipitridae. It is found on Trinidad and along the South American coastline from eastern Venezuela to southern Brazil.
The Congo serpent eagle is a species of bird of prey in the family Accipitridae. It is the only member of the monotypic genus Dryotriorchis, although it was formerly placed in Circaetus. This species is distributed across the African tropical rainforest, including upper and lower Guinean forests. This serpent eagle specializes in hunting in these forests’ dark understories. It has two subspecies, the nominate subspecies Dryotriorchis spectabilis spectabilis and Dryotriorchis spectabilis batesi. Though monotypic, it appears to be very closely related to Circaetus. This hawk is a medium-sized bird with distinctive short, rounded wings and a long, rounded tail. It is varying shades of brown on its back and has a slight crest. Its breast is white with variable amounts of a rufous wash and, in the nominate subspecies, is covered in round, blackish spots. The subspecies D. s. batesi only has these dots on its flanks. The Congo serpent eagle closely resembles Cassin's hawk-eagle, and some ornithologists believe that this likeness is a rare example of avian mimicry. It is a very vocal raptor, and often is one of the most heard species in its habitat.
The red-chested goshawk is a medium-size hawk of West Africa. It is often considered conspecific with the African goshawk.
The plain-breasted hawk is a small hawk described from Venezuela to western Bolivia. It is usually considered a subspecies of the sharp-shinned hawk by most taxonomists, including the American Ornithological Society, but the taxonomy is far from resolved, with some authorities considering the southern taxa to represent three separate species: white-breasted hawk, plain-breasted hawk, and rufous-thighed hawk.
Microspizias is a genus of bird of prey in the family Accipitridae. It contains the following species: