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But the classification of these hawks is the result of numerous differences of opinion, and will probably change again next day.

There are some features to help us to define these beautiful raptors.
Hawks are stocky birds but agile fliers due to the manoeuvrable tail. They frequent well wooded habitats where they are able to hunt among the trees. They soar easily thanks to their broad wings and tail.
The hawks of genus Buteo usually hunt in one small area where they find food sources, and do not need wide open space like numerous birds of prey. 

We can study these raptors by continents.

1 - The American hawks: 14 species + Hispaniola, Galapagos Archipelago and Hawaii

2 - The African buzzards: 5 species + Madagascar

3 - The hawk’ species present in several continents: 

3a - The African/Asian/European hawks – 2 species
3b - The American/European hawks – 1 species
3c - The Asian Hawks – 1 species

 

Text by Nicole Bouglouan

Photographers:

Bob Moul
Nature Photography

Philippe and Aline Wolfer
OISEAUX D'ARGENTINE

Sources:

HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD Vol 2 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliot-Jordi Sargatal - Lynx Edicions - ISBN: 8487334156

HAWKS, EAGLES AND FALCONS OF NORTH AMERICA by Paul A. Johnsgard - Smithsonian Institution Press - ISBN: 1560989467

SORA Searchable Ornithological Research Archive (Blair O. Wolf)

 

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Summary articles

 

Hawks of Genus Buteo

Hawks of the world, except Australia

The 8th group of the Family Accipitridae includes the hawks of the genus Buteo
According to the classification, this group contains between 28 and 35 species. Some of them are found almost elsewhere, but this genus is present in the Americas, in Africa, in Europe and in Asia, and absent from Australia.

Among these different species, we can find three morphological groups with first, the small, short-winged and long-tailed B. magnirostris, B. nitidus (classified in the previous 7th group) and B. platypterus. Then, there are the medium-sized hawks B. leucorrhous, B. brachyurus and B. lineatus. And the third group includes the largest, long-winged and shorter-tailed hawks B. albicaudatus, B. regalis and B. hemilasius.
These differences involve evolution of shape, flight and hunting and foraging behaviour.

Roadside Hawk

Buteo magnirostris

Red-shouldered Hawk - Buteo lineatus
White-tailed Hawk - Buteo albicaudatus