Please click on a Bird of Prey to find out more.
The Barn Owl is the most widely distributed owl in the world, it has several subspecies throughout its range from America, throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, Russia and Australia. Most commonly seen at dawn and dusk the Barn Owl is both nocturnal and crepuscular, but is fully capable of hunting during the day when food is scarce and especially when they have dependant young.
The Barn Owl has a very light buoyant flight. It tends to have a slow wing beat, is capable of gliding and hovering, and the flight is virtually silent. The Owl catches its prey by diving out of the sky and grasping it with it’s long talons.
Barn Owls have fantastic vision in low light levels and have awesome hearing abilities. Prey usually consists of very small mammals, typically mice, voles, shrews, beetles and insects.
These hawks are located mainly in Southern and Central America, however, over the last 30 yrs have become one of the most popular choices of hawk used in a captive circumstance here in the U.K. It is very common throughout most of its range. Typical habitat includes open woodland, semi desert and mesquite scrubland.
Prey usually consists of mammals such as rabbits, lizards, birds and insects. The Harris Hawk is both solitary and social, pairs, trios and families will hunt cooperatively, more so in winter. It is one of the few truly social raptors.
The Common Buzzard is found throughout Europe & Russia, spreading down to Turkey & the Northern tip of Africa. It is one of the most common and widespread birds of prey in Britain.
The preferred habitat of Common Buzzards is open countryside with small areas of woodland or the edges of more densely wooded areas. A dramatic increase in population finds them closer to populated areas, where they can scavenge waste.
Common Buzzards prey mainly on small rodents & mammals, though they will take reptiles, amphibians, large insects, invertebrates & young birds. They will also feed on carrion, preferring ‘still hunting’, sitting on a post, looking for food. Buzzards will also use wind-hovering to find their prey but are generally found searching for beetles & earthworms on the ground.
The Lugger Falcon is a resident of the central and northern parts of the Indian sub-continent, the Himalayas, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Loss of habitat and extensive use of post war agri-chemicals has threatened the Lugger populations in their native country, so much so that the Lugger is considered a threatened species.
Luggers will predominantly feed on small birds but will also take reptiles and small mammalian prey.
The Peregrine Falcon is considered cosmopolitan; it is indigenous to all inhabited continents and many islands, and has a wide temperature tolerance from desert to arctic.
Inland and coastal cliff, moorland and mountain crags, wooded country, tall city buildings and even treeless tundra suit the Peregrine. The peregrine feeds almost exclusively on birds, rarely mammals.
Prey is caught from a stoop. The Peregrine, like other falcons will smash into or rake their prey with specially adapted elongated toes. It is thought the Peregrine is capable of reaching speeds in excess of 200mph. The Peregrine is considered the fastest animal on the planet.
Located in Central and Northeast Africa, where they roost and nest on steep cliff faces. The Rüppell’s has no actual vocal chords, however, they can make a variety of sounds, including screeches and hisses, usually when angry or when fighting over food. In some regions, it is the dominant vulture at a feeding site, though in other areas it is out-bullied by the much larger Lappet-Faced Vulture.
Rüppell’s Griffons begin a search for food two hours after sunrise when the thermals have formed enough to give them needed lift. With their particularly keen eyesight this bird looks for the carcasses of large animals. Unlike some vultures, the Rüppell’s Griffon has a particularly strong bill and though it will start feeding on the soft parts of a carcass it soon moves on to eat even the toughest hide and bones.
Very occasionally it will kill young antelope and catch snakes, large insects and lizards, but feeds most of the time on carrion. Like many species of vulture these birds gorge themselves at a carcass until they can barely take off. The Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture is currently on record as the highest-flying bird ever, one of these birds collided with an airplane flying at an altitude of 37000 feet! This bird can soar for hours on end, searching out fresh carcasses.
The European or Common Kestrel is widespread throughout Europe. Typical habitat consists of woodland and heath. It is most often seen hunting above roadside verges, using a very distinctive hovering action.
Typically, the Kestrel will feed on voles, mice, small birds, insects, beetles and worms.
Males, until a year old, are the same colour as the females, but in their second year will moult a blue-grey head and tail with a black band at the base. The females remain a fawn and black colour.
The European Eagle Owl is one of Europe’s most powerful predators, it will kill other birds of prey to claim exclusive use of territory. The European Eagle Owl will predominantly feed on small mammals like rabbit, rat and squirrel but will also take birds such as crows, buzzards, owls and pigeons. When prey is scarce, it has been recorded that they will take prey up to the size of a fox or even small deer.
Fossil Evidence suggests that the European Eagle Owl was once resident in the U.K. Now it is sparsely populated across mainland Europe. Preferred habitat includes forest and mountainous regions with deep ravines, caves and ledges.
Outstanding camouflage makes the European Eagle Owl difficult to spot despite its size. Vocally it can be recognized by a deep hoot, oo-hoo, which can carry up to 1.5 miles.
The European Eagle Owl is not related or hybridized with an eagle, but is so called because of the immense crushing power of its feet, more powerful than a Rottweiler’s jaw.
The Lanner Falcon is resident in Africa, southeast Europs and parts of asia.The Lanner is outstandingly maneuverable and typically frequents open dry grassland and steppe, requiring large areas for hunting and cliffs for nesting.
They perform exceptionally to the lure and can take a range of small birds and small mamalian prey. Like other falcons the Lanner is an active hunter and rarely feeds on carrion. Prey is caught by the impact of hitting it at speeds of upto 100mph or by grasping it with their elongated toes and very sharp talons.
The Steppe Eagle is a medium sized member of the eagle family. They can have a wingspan of about 6 and a half feet. The Steppe Eagle breeds from Romania, through the south Russian and central Asian steppes to Mongolia.
They are migratory birds; the ones in the western parts of their distribution over winter in Africa and those in the eastern parts winter in India.
The Steppe Eagle’s diet is largely fresh carrion of all kinds; it will kill rodents and other small mammals up to the size of a rabbit, and small birds about the size of a partridge. It will also steal food from other raptors.
It used to be thought of as a subspecies of the non-migratory Tawny Eagle but DNA analysis has shown that they are not even closely related.
The Saker Falcon is both migratory and nomadic. Located throughout Eastern Europe, Asia and as far as the Middle East.
Migratory falcons tend to be juveniles.Sakers tend to reside in areas of open grassland and in winter will show preference to upland habitats i.e. mountain steppe and also semi desert.
Saker Falcons mainly prey upon small mammals especially rodents, rabbit, desert hare and many birds.
White Tailed Sea Eagles are the fourth largest species of eagle in the world, with a wingspan of over 8 feet The adults are mostly brown but have a lighter coloured head and of course a white tail. The young birds are generally brown all over and take 5 or 6 years to gain the full adult plumage.
In Britain, these eagles became extinct in the early 1900s but in 1975 they were successfully re-introduced to the Isle of Rum off the west coast of Scotland. They now breed throughout the western isles such as the islands of Mull, Skye, Lewis, Canna and the mainland coast of Wester Ross.
Fish, sea birds, rabbit and duck form the majority of these birds diet. They also scavenge, scouring the shoreline for washed-up fish and often stealing food from other animals such as otters and ospreys.
White Tailed Sea Eagles have a low reproductive rate, which has contributed to the slow growth in the population. In Scotland, they spend the winter in courtship and nest building, and eggs are laid in March. Females normally lay 1 - 2 eggs, which are incubated for about 7 weeks.
The Yellow Billed Kite is widely found in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is widely considered to be a sub-species of the similar Black Kite although DNA evidence suggests that it is a separate species.
Young birds actually have a black beak which gradually turns yellow as they mature.
Some birds migrate into Southern Africa in the summer and then leave again in the autumn.
They will eat pretty much anything they can scavenge but will generally prey upon small vertebrates and insects.
The kite’s long forked tail makes them extremely agile in flight allowing them to catch flying insects and sometimes even bats.
It will live in a wide variety of habitats avoiding only areas of unbroken forest and the high Arctic. They are most commonly seen either soaring lazily or sitting on top of telegraph poles by the roadside.
They take a wide variety of prey, although the bulk of their diet in the wild consists of small rodents.
Redtails have a distinctive high pitched call, often used in films as the call of a wild bird of prey. Unfortunately, the bird depicted is normally something other than a Redtail!
One of the most famous Redtails is a light coloured male, called Pale Male. He lives in New York and hunts in Central Park. Despite living in one of the worlds biggest and busiest cities he has found at least four mates and raised at least 4 clutches of chicks.
The Turkey Vulture is a bird found throughout most of the Americas. It also known in some North American regions as the Turkey Buzzard (or just "buzzard"), and in some areas of the Caribbean as the John Crow or Carrion Crow.
Turkey Vultures are very wide ranging and are found from southern Canada to the southernmost tip of South America. It inhabits a variety of open and semi-open areas, including subtropical forests, shrublands, pastures and deserts.
In flight, it uses thermals to move through the air, flapping its wings infrequently.
The Turkey Vulture is a scavenger and feeds almost exclusively on carrion. It finds its meals using its keen vision and sense of smell.
It nests in caves, hollow trees or thickets, each year generally raising two chicks, which it feeds by regurgitation.