buteos - These large hawks fly on wide, slow-beating wings that allow them to soar and search for prey. They perch on tree limbs, fence posts, telephone poles and similar items.
red-shouldered hawk, broad-winged hawk, Swainson’s hawk, red-tailed hawk, rough-legged hawk
accipiters - The true hawks have a long tail (like a rudder) and short, rounded wings. When flying, they make several quick wing beats and then glide. True hawks are aggressive and very quick.
sharp-shinned hawk, Cooper’s hawk, northern goshawk
Illinois species: osprey
falcons – Falcons have long, thin, pointed wings, a short bill and a streamlined body. They can fly very fast.
Illinois species: American kestrel, merlin, peregrine falcon
eagles – Eagles are larger than hawks and have longer wings. Their bill is almost as long as their head.
Illinois species: bald eagle, golden eagle
harriers – Harriers fly close to the ground and hold their wings in a “v” shape during flight. These birds have a long, thin body with long, rounded wings and long legs. The tail is long. Male and female harriers are distinguishable by their feather coloration.
Illinois species: northern harrier
kites – These medium-sized hawks have pointed wings. Their hooked beak helps them to feed on their prey items.
Illinois species: Mississippi kite
owls – Owls have fringed outer wing feathers for silent flight. Their wings are rounded, and the tail is short. These birds can turn their heads around 270 degrees.
Illinois species: barn owl, eastern screech-owl, great horned owl, snowy owl, barred owl, long-eared owl, short-eared owl, northern saw-whet owl