Cover image for Hawks, eagles & falcons of North America : biology and natural history
Hawks, eagles & falcons of North America : biology and natural history
Johnsgard, Paul A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Smithsonian Institution Press, [1990]

Physical Description:
xvi, 403 pages ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL696.F3 J6 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
QL696.F3 J6 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The author first discusses the evolutionary history of raptors and the morphological features they share, then in succeeding chapters details their comparative ecology, food and foraging, behavior, and reproductive biology. Individual species accounts include discussion of geographic range, weights and measurements, in-hand and in-field identification characters, subspecies, plumage variations, ecology, behavior, and breeding biology. Color photographs, two paintings, and detailed line drawings show internal and external anatomy, behavior, and field-identification characters. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Johnsgard, a veteran writer of bird books, now covers all 31 species of falconiform (hawklike) birds that breed north of Mexico. The book is divided into chapters on comparative biology and the natural histories of individual species. Johnsgard provides anatomical drawings, measurements, keys, and plumage descriptions. Field identification criteria and a limited reference series of field-guide-type drawings have been included, although the book is not intended to substitute for a good field guide. It is illustrated with 39 color plates--37 are photographs and 2 are paintings--and 102 black-and-white drawings. Both birders and ornithologists will find the book edifying. References; index. ~--George Cohen

Library Journal Review

Following a general survey of their biology and classification, Johnsgard provides detailed accounts of the 31 breeding species of hawks, eagles, and falcons found in mainland United States and Canada. A glossary, extended bibliography, index, drawings, and color photos supplement the text. This is an accurate and readable monograph that has the ill luck to be published soon after an even more comprehensive and authoritative work on the same topic, Ralph S. Palmer's Handbook of North American Birds , Vols. 4-5 ( LJ 9/1/88), which many libraries will already own. Except for comprehensive research collections, the Johnsgard title, though an excellent work per se, is an optional purchase.-- Paul B. Cors, Univ. of Wyoming Lib., Laramie (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Johnsgard is the preeminent synthesizer of modern ornithological literature on the natural history of birds. His many books have reviewed a diversity of bird groups, from waterfowl to hummingbirds. Here he makes a comprehensive survey of the 31 species of diurnal raptors that breed in North America, including hawks, falcons, eagles, osprey, and kites. The book has two main sections: the biology of these birds of prey (migration, conservation, etc.); and detailed species accounts. The accounts, occupying several to a dozen pages for each species, contain descriptions of plumage, habitats, ecology, and behavior. Both main parts of the book are well illustrated (drawings, maps, and figures), and there is a section of 38 color plates that magnificently show these popular birds. The book is valuable as an up-to-date and readable distillation of more than 1,200 sources on raptor biology (the book's bibliography is extensive). It is the best single-volume reference on this group of birds that is of interest to so many. All levels of readers. -C. Leck, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Part 1 Comparative Biologyp. 1
Chapter 1 Evolution, Classification, and Zoogeographyp. 3
Chapter 2 Foraging Ecology and Foodsp. 23
Chapter 3 Comparative Behaviorp. 39
Chapter 4 Reproductive Biologyp. 59
Chapter 5 Population Biology and Conservationp. 81
Part 2 Natural Histories of Individual Speciesp. 97
Family Accipitridae (kites, hawks, and eagles)p. 97
Subfamily Pandioninae (osprey)p. 97
Ospreyp. 99
Subfamily Accipitrinae (kites, typical hawks, and eagles)p. 107
Pernine kitesp. 107
Hook-billed Kitep. 109
American Swallow-tailed Kitep. 113
Elanine and milvine kitesp. 119
Black-shouldered Kitep. 121
Snail Kitep. 127
Mississippi Kitep. 135
Sea eagles and fish eaglesp. 141
Bald Eaglep. 143
Typical harriersp. 153
Northern Harrierp. 155
Typical accipitersp. 163
Sharp-shinned Hawkp. 165
Cooper's Hawkp. 171
Northern Goshawkp. 177
Typical buteonine hawksp. 183
Common Black-hawkp. 185
Harris' Hawkp. 191
Gray Hawkp. 197
Red-shouldered Hawkp. 203
Broad-winged Hawkp. 209
Short-tailed Hawkp. 215
Swainson's Hawkp. 221
White-tailed Hawkp. 227
Zone-tailed Hawkp. 233
Red-tailed Hawkp. 237
Ferruginous Hawkp. 247
Rough-legged Hawkp. 253
Booted eaglesp. 259
Golden Eaglep. 261
Family Falconidae (caracaras and falcons)p. 269
Tribe Polyborini (caracaras)p. 269
Crested Caracarap. 271
Tribe Falconini (falcons)p. 275
American Kestrelp. 277
Merlinp. 285
Aplomado Falconp. 295
Peregrin Falconp. 301
Gyrfalconp. 315
Prairie Falconp. 323
Appendix 1 Key to the Species of North American Falconiform Birdsp. 329
Appendix 2 Origins of Vernacular and Scientific Names of North American Falconiform Birdsp. 333
Appendix 3 Glossaryp. 337
Appendix 4 Field Identification Views and Anatomical Drawings of North American Falconiform Birdsp. 353
Referencesp. 367
Indexp. 399