Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
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Accipitridae

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Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum/Division:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Accipitriformes
Family:Accipitridae

Description

This is a large family consists of mostly diurnal birds of prey. Accipters are predators of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish or other birds. They are well adapted to hunt and have powerful hooked bills and strong talons to catch and kill their prey. All have well-developed flight muscles and good vision. Many of the accipters rely on thermals (rising columns of warm air as the earth heats up in the day) to soar through the sky, flapping only when necessary.

In Singapore, 29 species of accipters have been recorded, of which only eight species are residents; the rest are migrants or non-breeding visitors from neighbouring countries.

Bazas are migratory raptors with a long crest on their head and striking patterns on the underside. Their wings are broad and rounded.

Sparrowhawks are small- to medium-sized raptos with long tails and relatively short but broad wings, which allow them to twist and turn in forested areas in pursuit of small birds and mammals. They have strong bills, feet and long legs. Their flight is fast and direct, and they usually soar for limited periods only.

Harriers have long, slender legs that are not feathered. They also have long narrow wings and tails and an owl-like face. They usually fly low over grasslands and marshes, with their long, narrow wings held above the horizontal in a shallow 'V'.

Buzzards are medium-sized birds have large and broad wings. They soar over forest and open country.

Kites are medium-sized hawks with very long wings, short and weak bills.

Eagles are large and powerful, and have short, stout legs with long toes and claws. The tarsi are often feathered. They have long and broad wings, which allow them to soar efficiently over hills and forests.

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