The California Condor, Gymnogyps californianus, is a great testament to the efforts of those that conserve and protect our most endangered species. These are the largest land birds in the USA, but not even their size could protect them from the jaws of extinction. Where size … [Read more...]
These birds have powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, keen eyesight, and sharp talons.
The order Accipitriformes also includes the New World vultures, which are not closely related to the Old World vultures of Europe and Asia. The New World vultures are carrion-eaters, and have a bare head with a hooked beak. They are not as strong on the wing as the true raptors, and are generally found near bodies of water where they can easily find their next meal.
There are about 233 species of birds in the Accipitriformes, divided into four families:
- The Cathartidae, or New World vultures;
- The Pandionidae, or ospreys;
- The Accipitridae, or true raptors; and
- The Sagittariidae, or secretary birds.
The Cathartidae are the largest family in the order, with about 70 species. They are found in North and South America, and include the turkey vulture, black vulture, and the king vulture.
The Pandionidae are a small family of only five species, found in the Americas and Eurasia. These birds have long, narrow wings and very short tails. They feed primarily on fish that they catch by swooping down from high above the water's surface.
The Accipitridae are the largest family in the order, with over 140 species. They are found on every continent except Antarctica, and include eagles, hawks, kites, harriers, and Old World vultures.
The Sagittariidae is a small family of only two species, found only in Africa. These birds are quite different from the other bird of prey families, with a long tail, and long legs for hunting on the ground. They feed primarily on insects and carrion.
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. Head feathers are very difficult to clean. Early … [Read more...]
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 … [Read more...]
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, … [Read more...]
Secretary Bird 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 … [Read more...]
The Galapagos Hawk is a large, dark colored bird with broad wings and a broad tail. It is an active predator which feeds on small invertebrates such as small lizards, snakes and rodents. This hawk is known for its fearlessness and is a symbol of power in its habitat.The … [Read more...]
The Osprey bird (Pandion haliaetus) is a medium-large raptor which is a specialist fish-eater with a worldwide distribution. It occurs in all continents around the world except for Antarctica, but in South America only as a non-breeding migrant. The Osprey bird is often known by … [Read more...]
Vultures are medium to large sized Raptors or birds of prey.There are two types of Vultures, the Old World Vultures who belong to the Accipitridae family along with Buzzards, Kites and Eagles who are found in Africa, Asia and Europe, and New World Vultures who belong to the … [Read more...]