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The order Falconiformes is the order of Birds (Aves) which includes all Vultures, Hawks, and Falcons. To get into this exclusive club, you have to be diurnal (active during the day,sleeping at night) and eat meat - whether you catch it live, or find it lying around dead.

All members of this order have heavy bills, or beaks, with a very sharp, hooked tip for tearing their food. Their toes end in very strong, curved talons for catching, carrying, or holding prey. The birds in this order all share the characteristic of excellent vision to help them hunt for food.

In nearly all species in this order, the adult males and females look the same. Usually the females are larger than the males. Immature birds (juveniles or fledglings) in this group look different from the adults.

In many of these species, there is more than one colour phase. There may be a light phase and a dark phase of one species of hawk, for example. This is similar to some household pets. Think of common house cats. A black cat, a white cat, and an orange cat are all still cats. They're just different colour phases.

Although it's a really rare genetic mutation, occasionally an albino is born who is either pure white, or has much more white than is normal for the species. A more common colour mutation in this order of birds is melanism. Melanin is black pigmentation (colour) and the result is a much darker, or sometimes a pure black bird.

Falconiformes are found on every continent that is inhabited by human beings. Let's have a look at some of the families within this order. [LH] {BI}

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