Excavators are heavy construction equipment consisting of a boom, dipper (or stick), bucket and cab on a rotating platform known as the "house".
The house sits atop an undercarriage with tracks or wheels.
They are a natural progression from the steam shovels and often mistakenly called power shovels, as power shovels may have similar looking buckets.
All movement and functions of a hydraulic excavator are accomplished through the use of hydraulic fluid, with hydraulic cylinders and hydraulic motors.
Due to the linear actuation of hydraulic cylinders, their mode of operation is fundamentally different from cable-operated excavators which use winches and steel ropes to accomplish the movements
Excavators are also called diggers, JCBs (a proprietary name, in an example of a generic trademark), mechanical shovels, or 360-degree excavators (sometimes abbreviated simply to "360").
Tracked excavators are sometimes called "trackhoes" by analogy to the backhoe.
In the UK, wheeled excavators are sometimes known as "rubber ducks"