Birds of prey (raptors) are birds with keen eyesight, strong curved beaks and long curved strong talons.
Diurnal raptors (Falconiformes – Hawks, falcons, eagles, kites, harriers) such as the Red-tailed Hawk hunt during the day and nocturnal raptors (Strigiformes – owls) such as the Great Horned Owl hunt mostly at night.
Vultures are also considered birds of prey.
There are over 200 species of Falconiformes, 150 species of Strigiformes and 30+ species of Vulture.
Examples of Birds of Prey
Below are some examples of Birds of Prey that are featured on Animal Corner:
The Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) has a featherless red head and the flight feathers are a silvery gray. Turkey Vultures have a naked head. This prevents any feathers on the head from getting fouled by the carrion that they eat.
The Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) is a forest dwelling hawk. They eat mostly smaller ground dwelling birds but also some small mammals and reptiles. They have short wings and long tails that make them agile flyers in wooded terrain. Cooper’s Hawks nest in coniferous forests in the crotch or by the trunk of a tree.
Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) can be seen all over most of the North American continent searching for food or just having fun playing on the updrafts. Red-tailed Hawks are generalists. They eat mostly small rodents but also eat some smaller rabbits, snakes, lizards, insects and some birds.
The Galapagos Hawk is a large, dark colored bird with broad wings and a broad tail. The Galapagos Hawk is an active predator which feeds on small invertebrates such as small lizards, snakes and rodents. Galapagos Hawks can grow to be 55 centimetres long with a wingspan of 120 centimetres.
The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a bird of prey found in North America. Its range includes most of Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States, and northern Mexico. As a sea eagle, it belongs to the genus Haliaeetus and actually forms a species pair with the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla).
The harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja), also known as the American harpy eagle or Brazilian harpy eagle, is a neotropical species of eagle, distributed throughout Central to South America. It is one of the largest extant species of eagle in the world, and the largest and most powerful in its range.
Long Eared Owl
The long eared owl (Asio otus), also known as the northern long-eared owl, the lesser horned owl or cat owl, is a medium-sized species of owl that breeds in many areas through Europe and the Palearctic, as well as in North America. It belongs to the family Strigidae, known as the typical owls.
The Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo), sometimes abbreviated to just the “eagle-owl” in Europe, is a species of eagle owl that resides in much of Eurasia. It is one of the largest species of owl.
The peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) is a bird of prey (raptor) found worldwide, except for rainforests and cold, dry Arctic regions. Also simply known as the peregrine, these birds are large with a blue-grey back, barred white underparts, and a black head. They are known for their quick flight and are actually the fastest bird in the world, travelling at speeds of up to 320 km/h (200 mph).
The Secretary Bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) is a large raptor related to hawks and eagles. This large, terrestrial bird of prey is endemic to the open grasslands in sub-saharan Africa. The Secretary Bird is famed for being the prominent emblem of Sudan and South Africa and appears on both nations coat of arms.
The Red Kite bird (Milvus milvus) is a medium to large bird of prey which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as eagles, buzzards and harriers. The Red Kite is endemic to the Western Palearctic region. It is a rare species which is resident in the milder parts of its range, however, birds from northern and central Europe winter further south and west.