Birds of prey, that's what they are

Birds of prey, that's what they are

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Diurnal and nocturnal birds of prey, which are the birds of prey of Italy, definition and meaning of the term raptor. Characteristics of the bird of prey.

Thebirds of preythey are characterized by three factors:

  • they feed on other animals,
  • to hunt they use beak and claws and ...
  • they have a great view.

In other words, abird of preyit is an excellent predator. Inornithologythe term "rapacious”Only applies to wingsbirdsof the orders: Accipitriformes (the most common example is the California condor), Falconiformes (like our peregrine falcon) and Strigiformes (like the snowy owl).

Raptor: meaning of the term

The termrapaciousit is an adjective that has its etymological roots in the Latin word “rapax-acis” which means “to kidnap”, “to steal with greed” or “to plunder by force”. It is clear that this is a very wordemblematicable to characterize and distinguish a good number of birds.

Nocturnal birds of prey

Lords of the night ", this is the nickname of thenocturnal birds of prey. Among the various names, we remember the barn owl, the European owl, the burrowing owl, the snowy owl, the virginian owl ... These birds have a very particular plumage: not only the color of the feathers allows them to blend perfectly during the day (the snowy owl is completely white) in addition, the feathers allow a particularly flightsilentso as to surprise the prey.

The eyes of thenocturnal birds of preythey are able to see beyond the darkness, in addition, these animals have a very developed hearing.

Diurnal birds of prey

Thesepredatory birdsthey hunt by day. Most are loners, yet there are alsopredatory birdsthat move in packs. Amongdiurnal birds of preythat hunt in groups, we point out the Harris Buzzard and several species ofcondor. In Italy, thediurnal bird of preypar excellence is the hawk.


From the order Accipitriformes, the 4 families ofbirds of preyI'm:

  • Cathartidae (7 species)
  • Sagittaridae (1 species only)
  • Pandionidae (2 species)
  • Accipitridae (255 species)

Most are diurnal birds of prey. Very popular among diurnal birds of prey are theeagles. In the photo above, the Andean condor, the bird of prey with the scientific name Vultur gryphus, of the Cathartidae family. Thebirds of preymost representative of this gift order: the buzzards, thevultures, eagles, condoms ... Also worth mentioning are the names: capovaccio (Neophron percnopterus), Aquilastone (Spizaetus) and Cape Griffon (Gyps coprotheres). In the photo below, the white-headed vulture.

The orderFalconidaeall have a medium to large cut. The wingspan varies between 55 and over 130 cm. There is no shortage of specimens that exceed the weight of 2.5 kg. Compared to the previous order (accipitriforms), the species belonging to the order Falconidae have a wider and more robust beak which is characterized by the so-called "hawk's tooth", visible at the end of the beak. The genera belonging to this order are:

  • Daptrius
  • Ibycter
  • Phalcoboenus
  • Caracara
  • Milvago
  • Spiziapteryx
  • Herpetotheres
  • Micrastur
  • Polyurethanex
  • Micro-nutx
  • Hawk

In the photo below, the Bald Eagle.

In the order Strigiformes they are counted exclusivelynocturnal birds of prey. The two representative families are: Strigidae and Tytonidae. Among the various nocturnal birds of prey we remember the tawny owl, the owl, the scops owl, the owl and the barn owl.

Birds of prey of Italy

In Europe and in Italy there are the Accipitrids (family of 220 species, of which 13 nesting species in Italy) and the Falconids (60 species, 10 of which are present in Italy). Among the variousbirds of prey of Italywe remember thesenames:

  1. Bonelli's eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus
  2. Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
  3. Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
  4. Lanner falcon (Falco biarmicus)
  5. Eleonora's falcon (Falco eleonorae)
  6. Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)
  7. Little owl (Athene noctua)
  8. Red kite (Milvus milvus)
  9. Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus)
  10. Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus)
  11. Eagle owl (Bubo bubo)

Predatory birds

Please note: thebirds of preythey are not the only predatory birds. There are many predatory birdswhich remain excluded from the list of birds of prey. For example, the stork and the seagull, although not birds of prey, feed on fish and amphibians. As well as the Kingfisher, the Cormorant, and other birds typical of the wetlands, they are excellent hunters, however they do not belong to the category of birds of prey. As stated, in ornithology, the only birds of prey are those of the species belonging to the orders:

  • Accipitriformes
  • Falconiformes
  • Strigiformes

Video: Αττικό Ζωολογικό Πάρκο atticapark Αρπακτικά πτηνά 2 (June 2022).