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m (moved Bird of prey to Birds of prey over redirect: plural)
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{{Taxobox
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[[File:Gyps fulvus 1 Luc Viatour.jpg|thumb|[[Griffon vulture]]]]
| color = pink
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'''Birds of prey''' are [[bird]]s that hunt for food primarily via flight, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt [[vertebrate]]s, including other birds. Their [[claw|talon]]s and [[beak]]s tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing flesh. In most cases, the females are considerably larger than the males. The term "'''raptor'''" is derived from the Latin word ''[[wikt:rapio#Latin|rapere]]'' (meaning to seize or take by force) and may refer informally to all birds of prey, or specifically to the [[Diurnality|diurnal]] group.<ref name=brown>{{cite book|author=Brown, Leslie|year=1997|publisher=Chancellor Press|isbn=1-85152-732-X|title=Birds of Prey}}</ref> Because of their [[Predation|predatory]] lifestyle, often at the top of the [[food chain]], they face [[Raptor conservation|distinct conservation concerns]].
| name = Birds of Prey
 
| image = Wild Pandion.jpg
 
| image_caption = Australasian Osprey
 
| regnum = [[Animal]]ia
 
| phylum = [[Chordate|Chordata]]
 
| classis = [[bird|Aves]]
 
| subdivision_ranks = Orders
 
| subdivision =
 
* '''[[Falconiformes]]'''
 
** [[Accipitridae]]
 
** [[Osprey|Pandionidae]]
 
** [[Secretary Bird|Sagittariidae]]
 
** [[Falconidae]]
 
* '''[[Strigiformes]]'''
 
** [[Strigidae]]
 
** [[Tytonidae]]
 
* '''incertae cedis'''
 
** [[Cathartidae]]
 
}}
 
   
A '''Bird of Prey''', or '''Raptor''', is a [[bird]] that hunts for food primarily on the wing using its keen senses, especially vision; the [[claw|talon]]s and [[beak]]s tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh.
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Many species of bird may be considered partly or exclusively predatory; however, in ornithology the term "bird of prey" applies only to birds of the [[family (biology)|families]] listed below.
   
[[Diurnality|Diurnal]] birds of prey traditionally belong to the order [[Falconiformes]]:
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==Definition==
   
** [[Accipitridae]]: [[Accipitridae|Hawk]]s, [[eagle]]s, [[buzzard]]s, [[Harrier (bird)|harriers]], [[kite (bird)|kite]]s and [[Old World vulture]]s
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Taken literally the term "bird of prey" has a wide meaning that includes many birds that hunt and feed on animals and also birds that eat very small insects.<ref name=Burton/> In [[ornithology]], and the definition used here, the term has a narrower meaning for [[Bird vision|birds that have very good eyesight]] for finding food, strong feet for holding food, and a strong curved beak for tearing flesh.<ref name=Perrins/> Most birds of prey also have strong curved [[Talon (anatomy)|talons]] for catching or killing prey.<ref name=Perrins>{{cite book|title=The Encyclopaedia of Birds|page=102|publisher=Guild Publishing|editor1-first=Christopher, M| editor1-last=Perrins| editor2-first=Alex, L. A.| editor2-last=Middleton|year=1984}}</ref> Birds of prey generally prey on [[vertebrate]]s, which are usually quite large relative to the size of the bird.<ref name=Burton/> Most also eat [[carrion]] at least occasionally and the [[vulture]]s and [[condor]]s eat carrion as their main food source.<ref name=Perrins/> By way of an example, the narrower definition excludes [[stork]]s and [[gull]]s, which can eat quite large fish, partly because these birds catch and kill prey entirely with their beaks,<ref name=Burton>{{cite book|title=Birds of Prey|page=8|first=Philip|last=Burton|others=illustrated by Boyer, Trevor; Ellis, Malcolm; Thelwell, David|publisher=Gallery Books|year=1989|isbn=0-8317-6381-7}}</ref> and similarly bird-eating [[skua]]s, fish-eating [[penguin]]s, and vertebrate-eating [[kookaburra]]s are excluded.
** [[Pandionidae]]: [[Osprey]] (sometimes classified as subfamily Pandioninae of the previous family)
 
** [[Sagittariidae]]: [[Secretary-bird]]
 
** [[Falconidae]]: [[Falcon]]s and [[caracara]]s
 
   
The [[New World vulture]]s are usually also regarded as birds of prey, although they may not be closely related to the other groups.
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Using this cluster of anatomical and behavioural features, the species listed below are usually known to be birds of prey in ornithology. They can be divided into [[species]] that hunt during daylight, the raptors, and into species that hunt during the night, the [[owl]]s. The raptors and the owls are distantly related and are [[Biological classification|classified]] in separate [[order (biology)|order]]s; however, their [[Convergent evolution|evolution has been convergent]], both groups of birds adapting to a predatory lifestyle.<ref name=Burton/>
   
[[Nocturnal]] birds of prey - the [[owl]]s - are not classified with either of the aforementioned [[Taxon|taxa]] but are instead considered to be members of two [[extant]] [[Family (biology)|families]] - the [[Strigidae]] (typical owls) and the [[Tytonidae]] (barn and bay owls) - of the order [[Strigiformes]].
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==Classification by ancestry==
  +
[[File:bald.eagle.closeup.arp-sh.750pix.jpg|thumb|right|[[Bald eagle]]]]
  +
The [[Diurnality|diurnal]] birds of prey are formally classified into five [[family (biology)|families]] (traditionally of the order [[Falconiformes]], a classification currently{{Vague|date=April 2010}} in flux):
  +
*[[Accipitridae]]: [[hawk]]s, [[eagle]]s, [[buzzard]]s, [[Harrier (bird)|harriers]], [[kite (bird)|kite]]s and [[Old World vulture]]s
  +
*[[Pandionidae]]: the [[osprey]] (sometimes classified as subfamily Pandioninae of the previous family)
  +
*[[Sagittariidae]]: the [[secretary bird]]
  +
*[[Falconidae]]: [[falcon]]s and [[caracara]]s
  +
*[[Cathartidae]]: [[New World vulture]]s including condors.
   
The observation that otherwise unrelated bird groups may perform similar ecological roles and bear striking morphological similarities to one another is explained largely by the idea of [[convergent evolution]].
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The [[nocturnal]] birds of prey the [[owl]]s are classified separately as members of two [[Extant taxon|extant]] [[Family (biology)|families]] of the order [[owl|Strigiformes]]:
  +
*[[Strigidae]]: (typical owls)
  +
*[[Tytonidae]]: (barn and bay owls).
   
==Raptor names==
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The observation that otherwise unrelated bird groups may perform similar ecological roles and bear striking morphological similarities to one another is explained by the concept of [[convergent evolution]].
   
* '''[[Eagle|Eagles]]''' tend to be large birds with long, broad wings and massive feet. Booted eagles have legs and feet feathered to the toes and build very large stick nests.
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==Common names==
  +
The common names for various birds of prey are based on structure but many of the traditional names do not reflect the evolutionary relationships between the groups.
   
* '''[[Kite (bird)|Kites]]''' have long wings and relatively weak legs. They spend much of their time soaring. They will take live animal prey but mostly feed on [[insect]]s or even carrion.
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[[File:RaptorialSilhouettes.svg|thumb|upright|Variations in shape and size]]
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* [[Eagle]]s tend to be large birds with long, broad wings and massive feet. [[Booted eagle]]s have legs and feet feathered to the toes and build very large stick nests.
* The '''[[Accipitrinae|true hawk]]s''' are medium-sized birds of prey that usually belong to the genus ''Accipiter'' (see below). They are mainly woodland birds that hunt by sudden dashes from a concealed perch. They usually have long tails for tight steering.
+
* [[Osprey]]s, a single species found worldwide that specializes in catching fish, and builds large stick nests.
+
* [[Kite (bird)|Kites]] have long wings and relatively weak legs. They spend much of their time soaring. They will take live vertebrate prey but mostly feed on [[insect]]s or even carrion.
* '''[[Buzzards]]''' are raptors with robust bodies and broad wings, or, alternatively, any bird of the genus ''Buteo'' (also commonly known as '''Hawks''' in North America).
+
* The [[Accipitrinae|true hawk]]s are medium-sized birds of prey that usually belong to the genus ''Accipiter'' (see below). They are mainly woodland birds that hunt by sudden dashes from a concealed perch. They usually have long tails for tight steering.
+
* [[Buzzards]] are medium-large raptors with robust bodies and broad wings, or, alternatively, any bird of the genus ''Buteo'' (also commonly known as "hawks" in North America).
* '''[[Harrier (bird)|Harriers]]''' are large, slender hawk-like birds with long tails and long thin legs. Most hunt small vertebrates with a combination of keen eyesight and hearing, gliding and circling low over [[grassland]]s and [[marsh]]es on their long broad wings.
+
* [[Harrier (bird)|Harriers]] are large, slender hawk-like birds with long tails and long thin legs. Most use a combination of keen eyesight and hearing to hunt small vertebrates, gliding on their long broad wings and circling low over [[grassland]]s and [[marsh]]es.
+
* [[Vulture]]s are carrion-eating raptors of two distinct biological families, each occurring in only the [[Eastern Hemisphere]] (Accipitridae) or the [[Western Hemisphere|Western]] (Cathartidae). Members of both groups have heads either partly or fully devoid of feathers.
* '''[[Vulture]]s''' are carrion-eating raptors of two distinct biological families, each occurring in only the [[Eastern Hemisphere]] (Accipitridae) or the [[Western Hemisphere|Western]] (Cathartidae). Members of both groups have heads either partly or fully denuded of feathers.
+
* [[Falcon]]s are medium-size birds of prey with long pointed wings. Unlike most other raptors, they belong to the [[Falconidae]], rather than the [[Accipitridae]]. Many are particularly swift flyers. Instead of building their own nests, falcons appropriate old nests of other birds, but sometimes they lay their eggs on cliff ledges or in tree hollows. [[Caracara]]s are a distinct subgroup of the Falconidae unique to the [[New World]], and most common in the [[Neotropics]] their broad wings, naked faces and appetites of a generalist suggest some level of convergence with either the ''Buteo''s or the [[vulturine]] birds, or both.
+
* [[Owls]] are variable-sized, typically night-specialized hunting birds. They fly almost silently due to special feather structure to reduce turbulence. They have particularly acute hearing.
* '''[[Falcons]]''' are small to medium sized birds of prey with long pointed wings. Unlike most other raptors, they belong to the [[Falconidae]] rather than the [[Accipitridae]]. Many are particularly swift flyers. Instead of building their own nests, falcons appropriate old nests of other birds but sometimes they lay their eggs on cliff ledges or in tree hollows. [[Caracara]]s are a distinct subgroup of the Falconidae unique to the [[New World]], and most common in the [[Neotropics]] - broad wings, naked faces and the appetites of a generalist suggest some level of convergence with either the ''Buteo''s or the vulturine birds, or both.
 
 
* '''[[Owls]]''' are variable-sized nocturnal hunting birds. They fly soundlessly and have very acute senses of hearing and sight.
 
 
[[Image:bald.eagle.closeup.arp-sh.750pix.jpg|thumb|right|[[Bald Eagle]] at Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, North Devon, England]]
 
   
 
==References==
 
==References==

Latest revision as of 18:56, September 5, 2012

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File:Gyps fulvus 1 Luc Viatour.jpg

Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily via flight, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing flesh. In most cases, the females are considerably larger than the males. The term "raptor" is derived from the Latin word rapere (meaning to seize or take by force) and may refer informally to all birds of prey, or specifically to the diurnal group.[1] Because of their predatory lifestyle, often at the top of the food chain, they face distinct conservation concerns.

Many species of bird may be considered partly or exclusively predatory; however, in ornithology the term "bird of prey" applies only to birds of the families listed below.

DefinitionEdit

Taken literally the term "bird of prey" has a wide meaning that includes many birds that hunt and feed on animals and also birds that eat very small insects.[2] In ornithology, and the definition used here, the term has a narrower meaning for birds that have very good eyesight for finding food, strong feet for holding food, and a strong curved beak for tearing flesh.[3] Most birds of prey also have strong curved talons for catching or killing prey.[3] Birds of prey generally prey on vertebrates, which are usually quite large relative to the size of the bird.[2] Most also eat carrion at least occasionally and the vultures and condors eat carrion as their main food source.[3] By way of an example, the narrower definition excludes storks and gulls, which can eat quite large fish, partly because these birds catch and kill prey entirely with their beaks,[2] and similarly bird-eating skuas, fish-eating penguins, and vertebrate-eating kookaburras are excluded.

Using this cluster of anatomical and behavioural features, the species listed below are usually known to be birds of prey in ornithology. They can be divided into species that hunt during daylight, the raptors, and into species that hunt during the night, the owls. The raptors and the owls are distantly related and are classified in separate orders; however, their evolution has been convergent, both groups of birds adapting to a predatory lifestyle.[2]

Classification by ancestryEdit

File:Bald.eagle.closeup.arp-sh.750pix.jpg

The diurnal birds of prey are formally classified into five families (traditionally of the order Falconiformes, a classification currently[vague]

in flux):

The nocturnal birds of prey – the owls – are classified separately as members of two extant families of the order Strigiformes:

The observation that otherwise unrelated bird groups may perform similar ecological roles and bear striking morphological similarities to one another is explained by the concept of convergent evolution.

Common namesEdit

The common names for various birds of prey are based on structure but many of the traditional names do not reflect the evolutionary relationships between the groups.

File:RaptorialSilhouettes.svg
  • Eagles tend to be large birds with long, broad wings and massive feet. Booted eagles have legs and feet feathered to the toes and build very large stick nests.
  • Ospreys, a single species found worldwide that specializes in catching fish, and builds large stick nests.
  • Kites have long wings and relatively weak legs. They spend much of their time soaring. They will take live vertebrate prey but mostly feed on insects or even carrion.
  • The true hawks are medium-sized birds of prey that usually belong to the genus Accipiter (see below). They are mainly woodland birds that hunt by sudden dashes from a concealed perch. They usually have long tails for tight steering.
  • Buzzards are medium-large raptors with robust bodies and broad wings, or, alternatively, any bird of the genus Buteo (also commonly known as "hawks" in North America).
  • Harriers are large, slender hawk-like birds with long tails and long thin legs. Most use a combination of keen eyesight and hearing to hunt small vertebrates, gliding on their long broad wings and circling low over grasslands and marshes.
  • Vultures are carrion-eating raptors of two distinct biological families, each occurring in only the Eastern Hemisphere (Accipitridae) or the Western (Cathartidae). Members of both groups have heads either partly or fully devoid of feathers.
  • Falcons are medium-size birds of prey with long pointed wings. Unlike most other raptors, they belong to the Falconidae, rather than the Accipitridae. Many are particularly swift flyers. Instead of building their own nests, falcons appropriate old nests of other birds, but sometimes they lay their eggs on cliff ledges or in tree hollows. Caracaras are a distinct subgroup of the Falconidae unique to the New World, and most common in the Neotropics – their broad wings, naked faces and appetites of a generalist suggest some level of convergence with either the Buteos or the vulturine birds, or both.
  • Owls are variable-sized, typically night-specialized hunting birds. They fly almost silently due to special feather structure to reduce turbulence. They have particularly acute hearing.

ReferencesEdit

  • Remsen, J. V., Jr., C. D. Cadena, A. Jaramillo, M. Nores, J. F. Pacheco, M. B. Robbins, T. S. Schulenberg, F. G. Stiles, D. F. Stotz, and K. J. Zimmer. [Version 2007-04-05.] A classification of the bird species of South America. American Ornithologists' Union. Accessed 2007-04-10.

External linksEdit

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