RAPTORS of The World

Raptors are carnivorous. They hunt by sight during the day, are long lived, and have low reproductive rates. The catch their prey via strong claws three pointing forward and one pointing backward. The raptors that hunt by day are: hawks, eagle, kites, vultures, falcons. Owls hunt by night. Raptors are also called birds of prey.

Order Accipitriformes, family Accipitridae: hawks, eagles, kites, Old World vultures.
Order Accipitriformes, family Cathartidae: New World vultures
Also Accipitriformes: ospreys ( family Pandionidae); secretary bird (family Sagittariidae)
Order Falconiformes, family Falconidae: falcons
Order Strigiformes, family Strigidae: owls


EUROPEAN Hawks

Order Accipitriformes    Family Accipitridae


This web page includes species called bazas, buzzards, goshawks, hawks, harriers, sparrowhawks. They are similar to eagles. with eagles averaging larger species. In fact, often the difference between a hawk and a kite is only one of semantics.


Genus Accipiter
The raptors of Accipiter are called hawks, goshawks, and sparrowhawks. These birds are slender with short broad rounded wings and a long tail which helps them maneuver in flight. They have long legs and long sharp talons used to kill their prey, and a sharp hooked bill used in feeding. Females tend to be larger than males. They often ambush their prey, mainly small birds and mammals, capturing it after a short chase. The typical flight pattern is a series of flaps followed by a short glide. They are commonly found in wooded or shrubby areas.

Goshawk, Northern also Goshawk  Accipiter gentilis  Found: North America, Europe, Asia
The Northern Goshawk has dark gray upperparts; white underparts with dark gray barring; white supercilium; gray tail with 3 dark bands.
Similar to: Cooper's Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk. Northern Goshawk has distinct white eyebrow; the others do not.
Image by: 1)  Elaine R. Wilson - British Columbia  2) Steve Garvie - Scotland  3) Norbert Kenntner - Berlin  4)   Michael Ransburg
    5) Yasa  6)   Ferran Pestana - Spain  7) Guy Monty - British Columbia  8) Sergey Yeliseev- Moscow Region
1) Juvenile


Sparrowhawk, Eurasian also Northern Sparrowhawk  Accipiter nisus Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The Eurasian Sparrowhawk has bluish-gray (male) or brownish-gray (female) upperparts; rufous underparts with white barring.
Image by: 1, 2) Eddy Van 3000   3) Keith Laverack - England  4) Christian Knoch 



Genus Buteo  
Buteos are large raptors. They are known as buzzards in the Old World and hawks in the New World. The favorite prey are small mammals, but will also catch reptiles and ducks. They often soar on high and sprial down to seize their prey. They will also eat carrion if necessary.

Buzzard, Common Buteo Buteo   Found: Europe, Asia , Africa
The varies from almost pure white to black. It is usually shades of brown with a "necklace" of feathers. The Steppe Buzzard  (Buteo b. vulpinus) is a subspecies of the Common Buzzard.
Similar to: European Honey-Buzzard. The Common Buzzard has a larger head than the European Honey-Buzzard. The European Honey-Buzzard has fewer bars on its tail.
Similar to: Mountain Buzzard. Mountain Buzzard has denser spots on underparts than the Common Buzzard.
Similar to: Rough-legged Hawk. Common Buzzard has broader, shorter wings. Rough-legged Hawk legs are feathered to the feet.
Image by:   1) Mark Medcalf - Scotland  2, 3) Dick Daniels - Center for Birds of Prey, Charleston, South Carolina    4) Arno Meintjes  5, 6) Craig Adam - South Africa   7, 8) Dick Daniels - World of Birds, South Africa  
4 - 8) Steppe Buzzard  


Buzzard, Long-legged  Buteo rufinus  Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The Long-legged Buzzard has many different color forms from pale to very dark. It usually has orange tinted plumage, dark carpal patch; black trailing edge on under-wing. It is one of the larges species of Buteo.
Similar to: Rough-legged Buzzard. The Long-legged Buzzard is larger and more robust than the Rough-legged Buzzard. Rough-legged Buzzard legs are feathered to the feet.
Image by: 1) Sajahanmi  2) Durzan Cirano  3) A. Jo   4) Comfortably Numb  5) Sergey Yeliseev - Kazakhstan



Hawk, Rough-legged  also  Rough-legged Buzzsard  Buteo lagopus   Found: North America, Europe, Asia
The Rough-legged Hawk has legs feathered to the feet; mainly brown plumage with white speckling; long white tail feathers with one or more dark terminal bands; wing tips may be longer than tail when perched.
Similar to: Common Buzzard. Common Buzzard has broader, shorter wings.
Similar to: Ferruginous Hawk. Base of Ferruginous Hawk's bill has more yellow than Rourh-legged Hawk. Light morph Ferruginus Hawk has rusty brown wings and back; Rough-legged Hawk lacks the reddish tinge.
Similar to: Long-legged Buzzard. The Long-legged Buzzard is larger and more robust than the Rough-legged Buzzard. Rough-legged Buzzard legs are feathered to the feet.
Similar to: Red-tailed Hawk. Rough-legged Hawk has white at base of tail, Red-tailed Hawk does not. Red-tailed Hawk has broader, shorter wings.
Image by :  1) Bill Majoros   2,  3, 4) Dick Daniels - Carolina Raptor Center    5) Walter Siegmund - Washington    6) Alan D Wilson  7) Terrie Schweitzer - Oregon  8) Seabamirum - New York 
1 - 6) Light morph  7, 8) Dark morph




Genus Circus
Harriers characteristically hunt by flying low over open ground such as grassland or marshes, feeding on small mammals, reptiles, or birds. The name Circus refers to the circling movements female and male make when courting. Males and females have distinct plumage.

Harrier, Montagu's  Circus pygargus  Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The male Montagu's Harrier has mainly gray plumage; black wing-tips; black bands on upper and lower wings. Female has dark brown upperparts; white rump; yellow-brown underparts with stripes.
Similar to: Northern Harrier. Northern Harrier has barring on wing-tips; Montagu's Harrier does not.
Similar to: Pallid Harrier. Female Montagu's Harrier had to distinguish from female Pallid Harrier. Female Pallid Harrier has a pale collar, female Montagu's Harrier does not.
Image by:   1, 3) Tarique Sani   2) Vitaliy Khustochka - Ukraine  4) JV Verde - Portugal
1, 2) Female  3, 4) Male


Harrier, Northern  also Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus Found: The Americas, Europe, Asia
The male Northern Harrier has gray upperparts, upper-breast; whitish lower-breast, belly; white rump; gray wings with black tips. Female has brown upperparts; buff underparts streaked with brown.
Similar to: Montagu's Harrier. Northern Harrier has barring on wing-tips; Montagu's Harrier does not.
Image by: 1, 5) Len Blumin - California 2) Alan D. Wilson - state of Washington  3) Dick Daniels - North Carolina  4) Dan Pancamo - Texas  6) juvethski  7) Alan D. Wilson - British Columbia 
1 - 4) Female  5, 6, 7) Male     


Harrier, Pallid  Circus macrourus  Found: Europe, Asia
The male Pallid Harrier has gray upperparts; white underparts; black wingtips. Female has brown upperparts; buff underparts streaked with brown.
Similar to: Montagu's Harrier. Female Montagu's Harrier had to distinguish from female Pallid Harrier. Female Pallid Harrier has a pale collar, female Montagu's Harrier does not.
Image by: Sergey Pisarevskiy - western Siberia 1, 2) Tarique Sani - India  3) Yathin - India
1, 2) Female  3, 4) Male


Harrier, Western Marsh-  also Eurasian Marsh-Harrier  Circus aeruginosus  Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The male Western Marsh-Harrier  has mainly reddish-brown plumage with yellowish streaks on neck and breast; light gray-brown under-wings. Female has mainly chocolated-brown plumage; lighter and yellowish head, throat, shoulders.
Similar to: African Marsh-Harrier.  African March-Harrier has darker underparts and head than Western Marsh-Harrier.
Image by: 1) Ferran Pestana  2) Moayed Bahajjaj      3) Sergey Pisarevskiy - western Siberia   4) Cristiano Crolle - Manzolino, Italy  5) Cristiano Crolle - Texel, Holland  6) Artur Mikolajewski - Lasy Janowskie, Poland
1) Juvenile  2) Male



Genus Pernis
The Honey-Buzzards breed in temperate regions of the Old World. They feed on wasp larvae.

Buzzard, European Honey- also Honey Buzzard  Pernis apivorus   Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The European Honey Buzzard has a small blue-gray (male) or brown (female) head; yellow-orange eyes; two dark central bands and one dark terminal band. Juvenile has brown eyes.
Similar to: Common Buzzard. The Common Buzzard has a larger head than the European Honey-Buzzard. The European Honey-Buzzard has fewer bars on its tail.
Image by: 1) John Gould  2) Rainer Altenkamp   3) Jo Mur - Zambia  4,6 ) Cristiano Crolle - Cesano Maderno, Italy  5) Characters





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