Eagles and hawks are among 280 species of raptor (bird of prey). The group also includes kestrels, falcons, goshawks, buzzards and vultures.
Most birds of prey are hunters that feed on other birds, fish and small mammals.
Most birds of prey are strong fliers, with sharp eyes, powerful talons (claws) and a hooked beak.
Birds of prey lay only one or two eggs at a time. This makes them vulnerable to human egg collectors — one reason why many are endangered species.
Eagles are the biggest of the hunting birds, with wing spans of up to 2.5 m. The harpy eagle of the Amazon region catches monkeys and sloths. Stellar’s sea eagle is one of the most powerful of all birds. It has a wingspan of 2.4 m and a massive beak.
The bald eagle eats fish, snatching them from rivers.
The American bald eagle is not really bald, but has white feathers on its head.
There are two kinds of hawks. Accipiters, like the goshawk, catch their prey by lying in wait on perches. Buteos, like the kestrel, hover in the air.
Buzzards are buteo hawks.
In the Middle Ages, merlins and falcons were trained to fly from a falconer’s wrist to catch birds and animals.
The peregrine falcon can reach speeds of 350 km/h when stooping (diving) on prey.