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Hawks, vultures and eagles

Adult male sparrowhawk

Image: Steve Round

Mixed group of 'birds of prey' or 'raptors', with hooked bills. 

Hawks include the bird-eating hawks such as the sparrowhawk, with broad, rounded wings and long, slender tails; and the buzzards, mostly larger, longer-winged, substantial birds, which use broad wings for soaring. 

Eagles of similar size or larger (white-tailed is one of Europe‚Äôs largest flying birds) with deep, arched, sharply-hooked bills, long, strong, curved claws. 

Vultures have weaker feet, blunter claws, not used for catching or killing prey, but they excel in soaring flight over great distances, with little expenditure of energy, in search of dead animals. 

Many more species outside Europe.

Buzzard

Now the commonest and most widespread UK bird of prey. It is quite large with broad, rounded wings, and a short neck and tail. When gliding and soaring it will often hold its wings in a shallow 'V' an... More...

Buzzard

Golden eagle

A huge bird of prey, with only the white-tailed eagle larger in the UK. With its long broad wings and longish tail, it has a different outline to the smaller buzzard. It likes to soar and glide on air... More...

Golden eagle

Goshawk

A large hawk, almost reaching buzzard size. When seen close to it has a fierce expression with bright red eyes and a distinctive white eyebrow. Its broad wings enable it to hunt at high speed, weavi... More...

Goshawk

Hen harrier

Of the UK's birds of prey, this is the most intensively persecuted. Once predating free-range fowl, earning its present name, its effect on the number of grouse available to shoot is the cause of mode... More...

Hen harrier

Honey buzzard

The honey buzzard is a large bird of prey that is similar to the buzzard. It has got broad wings and a long tail. The plumage is very variable across all ages; typical adults are greyish-brown on its ... More...

Honey buzzard

Marsh harrier

The largest of the harriers, it can be recognised by its long tail and light flight with wings held in a shallow 'V'. It is distinguishable from other harriers by its larger size, heavier build, broad... More...

Marsh harrier

Montagu's harrier

The Montagu's harrier is a slim, medium-sized, long-winged bird of prey. It has a long tail, is smaller than a buzzard, and has more pointed wings than the similar hen harrier. The male is grey above.... More...

Montagu's harrier

Red kite

This magnificently graceful bird of prey is unmistakable with its reddish-brown body, angled wings and deeply forked tail. It was saved from national extinction by one of the world's longest running p... More...

Red kite

Sparrowhawk

Sparrowhawks are small birds of prey. They're adapted for hunting birds in confined spaces like dense woodland, so gardens are ideal hunting grounds for them. Adult male sparrowhawks have bluish-gre... More...

Sparrowhawk

White-tailed eagle

The white-tailed eagle is the largest UK bird of prey. It has brown body plumage with a conspicuously pale head and neck which can be almost white in older birds, and the tail feathers of adults are w... More...

White-tailed eagle

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The decline of three Asian vulture species has been quicker than that of the dodo - now is our chance to save them from extinction

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