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Talk:Bird of prey

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Do they attack people? Kids? -- (talk) 04:09, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Basically, no. Some will attempt to defend their nests, but most are too scared of humans even to attack then. None will attack otherwise. The only real risk is from owls, if their nests are threatened. Large owls can be ferocious in defending their young, often aim for the face, and have a silent flight, so you can't hear them coming. It's never a good idea to poke around in a owl's nest. jimfbleak (talk) 10:59, 9 September 2008 (UTC)


Needs to be merged with Raptor Mintguy 16:38 9 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I'm currently working on completing those bird families still without articles, while Tannin sorts out the existing articles for a consistent layout, so in the fullness of time, it will be done. jimfbleak 05:53 10 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I'm leary of the statement that no falcons build nests. The recent uproar over the eviction of "Pale Male" in New York City seems like a counter-example. Perhaps Pale Male is not a falcon???

This Pale Man bit is meaningless to me, as a Brit, so can't help with that. Falcons need somewhere to nest, be it on a cliff, a ledge on a building, or an old crow's nest, so they can still be rendered homeless. That's not the same as building a nest. jimfbleak 17:58, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Not all hawks belong to the genera AccipiterEdit

Maybe we should change the line:

Hawks are medium-sized birds of prey that belong to the genera Accipiter. They are mainly woodland birds that hunt by sudden dashes from a concealed perch. They usually have long tails and high visual acuity.

to read most hawks belong to the genera Accipiter.

(see red-tail hawk for an example)

Corrected. Dysmorodrepanis 06:18, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
But red-tailed hawks don't count for anything because they are actually a species of buzzard. --The High Fin Sperm Whale (talk) 04:47, 21 May 2009 (UTC)


"Nocturnal birds of prey—the owls—are separate from the diurnal families, and are in the order Strigiformes. Although the term "raptor" is sometimes used more broadly, in general it includes owls."

Does or doesn't? --Sambostock 11:23, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

my personal (but i think informed) opinion is that "raptor" (literally: plunderer or robber) and "bird of prey" (lit. a predatory bird) are general terms that are meant to capture a 'family resemblance' (in a Wittgensteinian sense); they share similar broadly similar lifestyles, and so as result of similar selection pressures share particular adaptations). for instance, we in the western hemisphere picture a member of the Cathartidae when we see vultures circling; and tho these birds have excellent vision, prey mostly (but not exclusively!) on animal flesh, and are masterful fliers, they may in fact be closer relatives of the storks than of falconiform birds like kestrels, eagles, or even gryphon vultures. the owls may or may not be related to the falconiforms, but they share their taste for flesh and the equipment for capturing it: sharp beak and grasping talons, superior senses and powerful flight. but depending upon the degree of specialization or generalization in day/night activity, acuity and even degree of color vision may vary from genus to genus. and though there are exceptions, most owls are ambush predators, dashing silently from out of view to capture prey, and so are relatively slow fliers with great control. most birds are visually sensitive to movement, and these are no exceptions. however, as most if not all information in this article will be redundant, i suggest that Bird of prey should be turned into a Disambig page with links to Falconiformes, Strigiformes, and Cathartidae. - Metanoid (talk, email) 04:21, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

PBS Nature Special, and technical factsEdit

PBS has a new episode of Nature about raptors, lots of cool facts about their anatomy and skills.

One neat thing they mention is that many dive hunters have a peak vision angle ~45deg off of centerline, and dive in a spiral to keep an eye on prey. Nature states that the indirect flight path is to avoid the drag of cocking the head to one side to watch the target. What I think is actually happening there is that the stereo vision is useless for common ranges; the raptor instead spirals to sweep it's view back-and-forth. By comparing how much the prey appears to move against the backdrop, the predator should gauge very useful range information. It's just like how astronomers use the Earth's orbit to range out a distant galaxy; the wider a range of views used, the better. 04:32, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

I think there are a fair number of papers on raptor vision; it's an interesting subject. You might want to check up on Google Scholar. Dysmorodrepanis 06:17, 21 February 2007 (UTC) - Thanks for the google scholar pointer, I found interesting info there, but not the answer. There were 3 ok hits; a 2000 article by VA Tucker in the Journal of Experimental Biology, a 2004 by IR Schwab in Br. J. Opthalamol, and a meaty 1971 paper from George E Goslow Jr. (though I've only had the time to skim it so far). The 2000 article only mentions the drag issue, and skirts the "why" of the fovea design in the first place. The '04 only quotes the '00 article on the issue. I'll e-mail what authors I can find about this; this feels like one of those little discoveries where the existing research just needed to be phrased and rearranged to put two and two together.

Religion and Birds of PreyEdit

Previously I added some information regarding the spiritual and religious aspects of birds of prey amongst many Native American tribes in North America. This information was removed and the person removing them deemed the inclusion of this information "parochial." Many birds of prey are viewed as religious or spiritual objects to numerous tribes and tribal members in the U.S. This is not a parochial argument but a matter of fact. For references supporting this, see, for example, these government sources:

Clinton, William J. Executive Memorandum: “Policy Concerning Distribution of Eagle Feathers for Native American Religious.” 59 F.R. 22953 (1994). Retrieved December 10, 2007 (

Saenz v. Department of Interior, D.C. No. 99-21-M (2001). Retrieved December 10, 2007 (

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2001. “Native American Activities: Migratory Bird Feathers.” Retrieved November 21, 2007 (

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Eagle Parts for Native American Religious Purposes Permit Application and Shipping Request.” Retrieved August 6, 2006 (

These referenes are not presented so as to suggest that every tribe necessarily believes every bird of prey is religious or spiritual in nature or that tribal members "worship" birds of prey. None of these are the case. Instead, as was attempted to be shown, many birds of prey have a religious or spiritual use, meaning or import to many tribes and their members. Removing information demonstrating this religious and spiritual relationship between many Native American tribes and birds of prey (eagles, hawks, owls, etc.) is a disservice to wikipedia visitors. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:54, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Here's a nice pictureEdit

Can you tell me what kind of bird it is? The picture was taken in Mongolia, about an hour out into the steppes from Ulanbatar. And you can use the picture as an illustration of whatever kind of bird it is. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:42, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Hard to tell, but you should check the local guides and see species that are confusable with the Steppe Eagle. Shyamal (talk) 10:14, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

can you tell me if any birds have a sense of smell — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:50, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

Article name/content agreementEdit

There appears to be some work needed on this article. The lead is probably a bit too long, and could be broken up slightly, and even expanded, and the first line doesn't match the article title ("bird of prey" as of writing this). I tried to rewrite it, but I'm not sure I got it quite right. The problem is that Owls have their own article, and this one, which seems like it should cover all birds of prey, seems to have been written originally about raptors only (excluding owls, though I seem to recall often hearing Owls called "raptors" as well). The infobox certainly doesn't match the article title. I'm not quite sure how best to resolve all this. --Fru1tbat (talk) 18:29, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Merge proposalEdit

the entry hawk isn't dong very much in and of itself. what say we make it a section in this entry, a related term? - Μετανοιδ (talk, email) 06:55, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

see also Talk:WikiProject_Birds#Merge_proposal. - Μετανοιδ (talk, email) 07:23, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

  • Weak oppose - There is a lot more which could be added to the entry 'hawk', including etymology and regional variations eg. NW Hawk = OW buzzard etc. If we merge hawk, then eagle, kite, kestrel, vulture etc. should follow. However, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it if everyone else thought it a good idea. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 07:41, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose bird of prey can also include owls, eagles and other familes apart from being more of a literary term. Hawk is loose as well but a smaller category and it is fine as it stands like a disambiguation for taxonomic groups. Shyamal (talk) 07:47, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose nope, hawk does not cover all the same terms. Sabine's Sunbird talk 08:12, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per Shyamal and S's S jimfbleak (talk) 09:57, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Weak support but good points all. i'm not stuck on the idea. - Μετανοιδ (talk, email) 03:52, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Weak oppose-I agree with Shaymal. Birds of Prey usually include the Owls, which clearly aren't Hawks. A better fit, I think, would be to merge Hawk into Accipitridae, but Accipitridae includes Eagles, Falcons and Kites, which also are not "hawks", but much closer in behavior and relationship. How do people feel about that merge?......Pvmoutside (talk) 19:02, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
i see Shyamal's and Casliber's points, but i think their concerns can by and large be addressed if Hawk were developed as a section of [Bird of prey]]. i realize that Bird of prey encompasses non-hawk-like species (owls, in particular); but there are certainly a very large number of birds of prey called hawks/buzzards, and i think there would be little confusion if readers were redirected to the (slightly) more inclusive article as i suggest... however, i also think that Pvmoutside's idea has some merit; Hawk as a section of Accipitridae? hmm. - Μετανοιδ (talk, email) 19:20, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
In fits and starts I am developing Accipitridae and I would strongly object to that particular article having sections based on vague descriptors like "hawk" , "kite" or "eagle". I mention in the intro these names, and when the article is substantial it might be good to redirect some of these terms in this way, but a merge would make a for a really clumsy article. Sabine's Sunbird talk 19:59, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
ach, well, i guess i can deal with that. again, i think that Bird of prey would be a good place to put such a broad, general entry as Hawk (as a section); but i will respect the consensus view. - Μετανοιδ (talk, email) 20:52, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Buzzard, too, could be easily adapted as a section of Bird of prey, as it is little more than a list.... - Μετανοιδ (talk, email) 22:09, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Weak oppose. Perhaps rather scrap the taxobox and make the article a prettied-up but straightforwaed disambiguation? (Bit more text, 4-picture gallery, as per grass frogs). Then, after Accipitridae is brought into better state, decide what to do with it. Arguably, folk taxonomy = form taxonomy, so people will go looking for info on "hawks". Dysmorodrepanis (talk) 04:53, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: There are other birds of prey other than hawks. Bird of prey refers to a wide variety. swannietalk 02:33, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose per article size after merge and all above. Stuff can still be added here. Sawblade05 (talk to me | my wiki life) 08:55, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose: Hawks are part of birds of prey but Bird of Prey are not only about Hawks. Instead of merging the articles, I recommend improving the Hawk article instead.  10014derek  Ӂ  14:01, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Bird of prey is collaboration for September/October 2008Edit

Nominated June 2 2008;


  1. . Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 00:01, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
  2. . Snowman (talk) 17:36, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
  3. . Vultur (talk) 23:25, 25 July 2008 (UTC)


  • Would be great to get a simple introductory page like this up to at least GA standard, with a concise, easy-to-read definition, features and latest on taxonomy. I was blown away recently that maybe Elanidae diverged earlier than pandionidae (whoa). Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 00:01, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Yes, a basic topic like this needs more expansion. Vultur (talk) 23:25, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Given the taxonomic problems would it be worthwhile removing the taxobox and treating it the same way as seabird? Sabine's Sunbird talk 00:03, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Me too jimfbleak (talk) 05:50, 21 September 2008 (UTC)


I've had a quick run through and cleaned up a bit, but we need an agreed outline.

  1. A clear definition of what is a bird of prey. Are owls included? What about the Cathartidae?
  2. Typical characteristics - will depend on previous. Structure, vision etc
  3. Hunting/feeding techniques
  4. breeding strategies?
  5. conservation
  6. fossil record

The list of types of birds of prey which is the second section seems very northern hemisphere to me, and either needs to be rethought or rewritten. It introduces vague terms which add more confusion. Perhaps better to discuss by Accipitridae subfamilies and the other small families?

jimfbleak (talk) 07:35, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Not to forget some giant fossil Phorusrhacidae ! Shyamal (talk) 09:16, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Could we use more images on the article (can supply more, if there is felt to be a need) Aviceda talk 04:17, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Wrong definitionEdit

I think the article has the wrong definition of a bird of prey. It says "Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision." However, I am quite sure that the definition is a bird that kills other animals using its talons. But then, why would a Vulture be a raptor? --The High Fin Sperm Whale (talk) 18:22, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

I have to agree, Birds of Prey are birds that kill their prey with their talons and as a result vultures aren't actually birds of prey —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:20, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

I have added a section on the "definition" using two rather old second-hand books. I wonder if any of the terminology that I have added needs bringing up-to-date. Comments and copy-editing welcome. Snowman (talk) 18:59, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

"raptor" originEdit

Isn't "raptor" an older Greek or Latin word? Thus it would predate the French word "rapiere." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:42, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Adding needed, rather than editingEdit

  • I have stumbled across, and read, a few times the bird of prey article, which was brought to me using the "getting started" search for me to clarify. it seems to me it doesnt really need clarifacation, and is mostly phrased in a good manner.

instead what is missing (more than editing) is to expand it a bit more. it IS an interesting subject, and area in general. and i am sure there is more RELEVANT-INTERESTING material that can be added.

  • i suggest for qualified editors to remove this article from the "clarify" cycle of the "getting started".
  • i will try to find more material to the subject and expand with a referances base

Chronomaster5779 (talk) 16:17, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Reader feedback: I found much of what I was l...Edit posted this comment on 29 July 2013 (view all feedback).

I found much of what I was looking for, except an overview of the more distant ancestry of birds and their descent from dinosaurs.

i have put therfore a link to "origin of birds" page, in the "see also" category Chronomaster5779 (talk) 03:41, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

The main bird article has origins Jimfbleak - talk to me? 05:47, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

recommandation and declaration of putting "bird" article link in the "see also" sectionEdit

a user who is reading 'birds of pray', is most likely that he would not search "bird" to find the evoulution of 'birds of prey', and would not choose to "go back"(in an association concept) to 'bird' article to search for it. a person who already chosen "birds of prey" article is either not interested in "bird" article, or came from the "bird" article(with or without reading about evolution), or want to know the specific evolutionery phase of 'birds of pray'. in that case, the current user either already read the summerized evolution in 'bird' page(or even read the main article on dinosours and birds) or searching for it from 'birds of prey' article and on. therefore i think it answers better and more directly, if an "origin of birds" will be put. there it will also be point out that dinosours and evolution regard only to birds in general and not to birds of prey in particular, in which case what IS relevant is the "recent" evolution which is their ancestors. (am i correct?)

for common sense, in linking pages concept, it is conceivable that user WILL be interested to "surf" from 'birds of pray' to the generalized article of 'bird'. so im adding "bird" too... Chronomaster5779 (talk) 15:56, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

There's already a link to the article Bird, in the very first sentence. Howicus (talk) 16:00, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

yes but not everyone is aware of every single link. you also exclude a possibility that someone searches very swiftly towards the "see also" section, to find a referance to bird evolution, rather than reading thorouhly the article.

more over, if it has a link inside the article, and it is a main related article, it should defenetely also be in the obvious "see also" section. it is not about how inteligent readers are, it is about ease of relevant article assosiation and search for public.

Chronomaster5779 (talk) 16:07, 8 August 2013 (UTC)


Cathartidae (new world vultures) were removed from this article in August 2013 by an unsigned user, claiming that they don't belong here because they are related to storks.

However, this is an article about the common term "bird of prey" as traditionally understood, not about a phylogenetic clade.

Many authors, whilst acknowledging the Sibley & Alquist taxonomy, continue to group the new-world vultures with the other diurnal birds of prey. Also, is the relation of cathartids to storks undisputed?

If we are going to remove Cathartidae from the family list, then we also need to remove mention of condor from the introduction, and possibly other clean-up.

And if we remove new-world vultures on the basis of them not taking live prey, then we also need to exclude the old-world vultures, plus other acciptrids that are heavily reliant on carrion.

I'm putting the Cathartidae back; please discuss here their ex/inclusion if you feel strongly about this decision.

Pelagic (talk) 02:19, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

Sexual Dimorphism Section Peer ReviewEdit

Overall your section on sexual dimorphism was very well written. I would watch out when using scientific terms that are not common to the general public because it makes some concepts hard to understand. For example, you wrote “This is due to the fact that the ecological model is less parsimonious, making it more complex than sexual selection.” Perhaps it would be better to use the sentence “This is due to the fact that explanations based on ecological factors involve more evolutionary steps/processes, making the matter more complex than hypotheses based on sexual selection.

In terms of actual edits, I removed the word “also” from your first sentence because it was not necessary, seeing as it’s an intro sentence for a new section. For the section on kestrels, you should define which sex of the species is the smaller one. The flow of the sentence makes the reader feel as if both sexes would respond to harsh environments by decreasing in size. I added a semicolon to a sentence because it felt like a run on. Overall, you shared great information and it looks good!Daisuke 780 (talk) 06:56, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

I have responded to the critiques you guys have posted, and I also added a section on a potential third theory as to why sexual dimorphism has evolved in raptors as well. In addition, I have made my section more conclusion based rather than listing the results of a single experiment. Leflame123 (talk) 01:33, 9 November 2015 (UTC) Leflame123

Overall this section of the article flows very well. I fixed a couple sentences to not specifically reference experiments and just summarize instead. The only other thing that I can think of to add would be maybe adding smaller subheadings (=== heading ===) for each different explination in order to break up the big chunk of text. Besides that great work! Adowney31 (talk) 16:43, 14 November 2015 (UTC)

Sexual Dimorphism Section Peer Review Pt. 2Edit

In terms of edits, I changed the wordings of some sentences to avoid repetitious phrases. I also tried to make sentences with scientific phrases a little bit easier to understand (for example, the sentence with the definition of parsimonious in it). I changed the phrase “in addition” to “additionally” because I felt it improved the flow of the sentence. Also, I changed “much more data” to “a significant amount of data”. For the part about kestrels, I broke the sentence into two because it was a lot of information to digest in one take. Overall, I like how you explain why sexual selection hypotheses are more accepted than ecological hypotheses. Plus, the use of the kestrel species was a good way to give imagery to the subject. For this section, “Dimorphisms can also be the product of intrasexual selection between males and females. It appears…” I think that the order of this sentence can be fixed along with wording choice. I tried to change the order but I do not want to change the meaning of what you are trying to say. Finally, the last sentence feels like an introductory sentence. I think it would be good to add some extra information to give the section a good closing.Daisuke 780 (talk) 01:33, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

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What are folks' thoughts on adding this cladogram to the Classification section?

This cladogram is my best effort for visually depicting how different clades of birds are considered birds of prey vis-a-vis polyphyletic assemblages.


Sagittariidae (Secretarybird)

Pandionidae (Osprey)

Accipitridae (Hawks, eagles, kites, Old World vultures etc.)

Cathartiformes (New World vultures) 

Strigiformes (owls) 

Other birds


Falconiformes (falcons) 

Other birds

Other birds

Heavily borrowed from Telluraves.

Aidan ⦿ (talk) 03:56, 20 March 2017 (UTC)


From Stoop: "the high-speed attack dive of a bird of prey (most usually a hawk, eagle, falcon or owl)" - how to include here in birds of prey? Hyperbolick (talk) 19:23, 19 April 2017 (UTC)

Return to "Bird of prey" page.