• In falconry, the “Accipiters” mainly refer to those in the genus Accipiter such as the Northern Goshawk (Gos), the Cooper’s Hawk (Coop) and the Sharp-Shinned Hawk (Sharpie). These hawks mainly are found living in forested areas and their bodies are adapted for hunting in habitats where cover is thick and visibility is limited. These adaptations include short rounded wings and long rudder-like tails that enable them to manuever through deep forest cover in rapid pursuit of game. In falconry, the Accipiters are often called the “shortwings” .

The Accipiters are very similar in their appearance – often making it difficult to tell the difference between species. Adult plumage is generally gray all over with fine black barring on the chest, broad black bands on the tail, white under tail coverts, and red eyes.

Falconer with Goshawk.

The females are about a third larger than the males. Their plumage offers them excellent camouflage in forest evnvironments, where they typically hunt from a perched position. They hunt a variety of game from small birds to medium-sized mammals.

For falconry purposes, the Accipiters require a high level of attention. They tend to be higher-strung than most raptors and require much patience. They generally are trained to hunt directly from the falconer’s fist or by following the falconer from perch to perch.

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