The Rapture of Raptors
If, when you think of Big Birds, you can only imagine one that is yellow and from Sesame Street, you need to read on…!
Raptors play an important ecological role in the natural habitat by keeping the prey populations under control.
There are over 560 species of raptors worldwide and are found on every continent except Antarctica.
They range from the Andean Condor, the largest, with a wingspan of 3 metres and weighing up to 15 kilos to the Elf Owl, the smallest, with a wingspan of 26.5 centimetres and weighing up to 40 grams.
They are fast, strong and have sharp eyesight and sharp talons! They hunt live prey in the main, but vultures and condors clean up the landscape by eating carrion.
Some interesting facts…
Did you know raptors have a ratchet mechanism in the tendons of their toes, so they can carry prey long distances without using the energy in their muscles?
The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal on earth when in a stoop, reaching speeds of up to 320 kilometres per hour!
Most raptors are solo hunters except for Harris Hawk which is notable for its behavior of hunting cooperatively in packs. They are known as ‘Wolves of the Sky’ in their native countries.
The Gyrfalcon is one of the largest falcons and is known to reuse nesting sites, some of which have been found to be over 2,500 years old.
The more I read about these magnificent birds the more I want to know. If you want to know more, at the time of writing we have many books on birds of prey in stock for you to browse.
Contributed by Theresa
(Published 30th Jun 2022)