(Science: ornithology) One of numerous species and genera of rapacious birds of the family Falconidae.
They differ from the true falcons in lacking the prominent tooth and notch of the bill, and in having shorter and less pointed wings. Many are of large size and grade into the eagles. Some, as the goshawk, were formerly trained like falcons. In a more general sense the word is not infrequently applied, also, to true falcons, as the sparrow hawk, pigeon hawk, duck hawk, and prairie hawk.
Among the common American species are the red-tailed hawk (Buteo borealis); the red-shouldered (B. Lineatus); the broad-winged (B. Pennsylvanicus); the rough-legged (Archibuteo lagopus); the sharp-shinned accipiter fuscus).
See: fishhawk, goshawk, marsh hawk, night hawk.
Origin: oe. Hauk (prob. Fr. Icel), havek, as. Hafoc, heafoc; akin to D. Havik, OHG. Habuh, g. Habicht, Icel. Haukr, Sw. Hok, dan. Hog, prob. From the root of E. Heave.