From top left to right: eurasian eagle-owl, king vulture, peregrine falcon, golden eagle and bearded vulture

From the Raptor Society

Birds of prey, also known as raptors, include species of bird that primarily hunt and feed on vertebrates that are large relative to the hunter. A raptor is a special type of bird which captures live prey. ... Eagles, hawks, kites, falcons, and owls are all considered raptors. The term raptor is derived from the Latin word rapio, meaning to seize or take by force. In addition to hunting live prey, many birds, such as fish eagles, vultures, and condors, eat carrion.

A raptor exhibits physical adaptations that make it a highly efficient predator. Generally light in weight, yet powerful for its size, a raptor has sharp talons (or claws) and a sharp, hooked beak that suits its carnivorous lifestyle. Even the shape of its wings reflects the hunting technique that each species uses. A falcon, which uses a burst of speed to hunt other birds, tends to have narrower wings with more pointed tips. On the other hand, a vulture has broader wings. Its diet mainly consists of the carcasses of dead animals, so hunting speed is not necessary. The eyes are a raptors most marvelous adaptation. A raptor's eyes are positioned on its head to be forward-facing with overlapping fields of vision. Eyes in this arrangement give a hawk binocular vision, allowing t to judge distances with amazing accuracy. Binocular vision is essential for animals that hunt to survive, especially when pursuing fast-moving prey where the distance is constantly changing. The eyes of a raptor are

structured somewhat like a telescope. Evidence indicates that a raptor can distinguish its prey at two to three times the distance that a human can. Most species of raptors survive by hunting one or more types of live animals for food. Other species survive by consuming animals that have already died, while still other species use a combination of hunting for live food and scavenging for dead animals. Predators help maintain the dynamic balance between habitats and the plant and animal life those habitats are capable of supporting. AS predators and scavengers, raptors form vital links in the web of life.

Examples of birds of prey not encompassed by the ornithological definition include storks, herons, gulls, phorusrhacids, skuas, penguins, kookaburras, and shrikes, as well as the many songbirds that are primarily insectivorous. Some extinct predatory birds had talons similar to those of modern birds of prey, including mousebird relatives (Sandcoleidae), Messelasturidae and some Enantiornithes, indicating possibly similar habits.



Clutch size: 1-3 eggs 

Incubation period: 38-39 days 

Nestling period: 70-98 days 


Clutch size: 1-3 eggs Incubation period: 28-40 days 

Nestling period: 60-84 days 


Clutch size: 1-3 eggs 

Incubation period: 29-32 days 

Nestling period: 25-35 days 


Clutch size: 1-4 eggs 

Incubation period: 36-42 days 

Nestling period: 50-55 days 


Clutch size: 1-5 eggs 

Incubation period: 28-35 days 

Nestling period: 42-46 days 


Clutch size: 2-5 eggs 

Incubation period: 32-40 days 

Nestling period: 42-49 days 


Clutch size: 1-5 eggs 

Incubation period: 28-31 days 

Nestling period: 35-42 days


Clutch size: 4-5 eggs

Incubation period: 28-36 days 

Nestling period: 30-35 days 


Clutch size: 3-8 eggs 

Incubation period: 30-35 days 

Nestling period: 21-28 days 


Clutch size: 2-6 eggs 

Incubation period: 30-36 days 

Nestling period: 27-34 days 


Clutch size: 2-5 eggs 

Incubation period: 29-32 days 

Nestling period: 35-42 days 


Clutch size: 4-5 eges 

Incubation period: 28-32 days 

Nestling period: 29 days 


Clutch size: 1-3 eggs 

Incubation period: 41-45 days 

Nestling period: 45-81 days 


Clutch size: 1-3 eggs 

Incubation period: 34-36 days 

Nestling period: 56-98 days