Ruppells Griffon Vulture
This species has been uplisted to Critically Endangered due to severe declines in parts of its range. Overall it is suspected to have undergone a very rapid decline owing to habitat loss and conversion to agro-pastoral systems, declines in wild ungulate populations, hunting for trade, persecution, collision and poisoning. They are now also classed as a European species of vulture.
Striated Caracaras are opportunistic – they’ll feed on almost anything they can. They’ll eat the young and eggs of seabirds, and hunt smaller seabirds in their burrows or on the wing.
They will investigate human refuse for food and will eat offal. They will scavenge carcasses.
They’re also known for overturning rocks for food which is a sign of higher intelligence in birds – it’s a form of adaptation and problem-solving.
The bald eagle is the only eagle unique to North America. Its distinctive brown body and white head and tail make it easy to identify even from a distance. When flying, the bald eagle very rarely flaps its wings but soars instead, holding its wings almost completely flat. Its hooked bill, legs and feet are yellow.
Eagles primarily eat fish, carrion, smaller birds and rodents. Eagles are also known to prey on large birds and large fish.
Bald eagle numbers in the U.S. were estimated to be between 300,000-500,000 in the 1700s. Numbers were once as low as 500 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states. Bald eagle numbers have rebounded since and now the lower 48 states boast over 5,000 nesting pairs. There are a total of about 70,000 bald eagles in the whole of North America (Including Alaska and Canada).
Barn Owls eat mostly voles, shrews, mice and sometimes rats.
Food is often swallowed whole – bits of fur and bone are then regurgitated (coughed up) as an owl pellet.
Barn Owls screech – they never hoot (that’s Tawny Owls).
The scientific Latin name for Barn Owl is Tyto alba alba.
Barn Owls have very long legs, toes and talons to help them to catch prey hidden under long grass.
Barn Owls usually hunt at night – even in total darkness they can find the smallest vole using their super-sensitive hearing.
Barn Owls’ large eyes are very sensitive too – they can quickly spot a mouse moving in a very gloomy barn.
Barn Owl feathers are super soft – this helps them to hunt silently, but they are not very waterproof and get soaked if it rains.
Barn Owls have lop-sided ears! One is higher than the other, which helps them to pinpoint exactly where tiny sounds are coming from.
A wild Barn Owl usually eats about 4 small mammals every night, that’s 1,460 per year!
The Saker Falcon. This species has been up listed to Endangered because a revised population trend analysis indicates that it may be undergoing a very rapid decline. This negative trend is a result of unsustainable capture for the falconry trade, as well as habitat degradation and the impacts of agrochemicals, and the rate of decline appears to be particularly severe in the species’s central Asian breeding grounds. This classification is highly uncertain and may be revised when new information becomes available. Surveys are urgently needed to produce more robust and less uncertain population estimates, in particular for China, Russia and Mongolia. Further research to monitor key populations and to clarify the extent of the threat from trapping and its effect on population trends is vital.
This species has been uplisted to Critically Endangered due to severe declines in parts of its range. Overall it is suspected to have undergone a very rapid decline owing to habitat loss and conversion to agro-pastoral systems, declines in wild ungulate populations, hunting for trade, persecution, collision and poisoning.
Although not classed as endangered, this species in not commonly found in the wild, and so little is known about this species. There are fourteen subspecies throughout its vast range, which includes Asia, India, Sri Lanka, China, and Indonesia. They are part of the Strix genus, known as the ‘wood owl’ family, and are closely related to the Tawny owl found in the UK. They are often referred to as the ‘Asian brown wood owl’ or ‘Malaysian brown wood owl’.
The white-tailed eagle is the largest UK bird of prey. It has brown body plumage with a conspicuously pale head and neck which can be almost white in older birds, and the tail feathers of adults are white. In flight it has massive long, broad wings with ‘fingered’ ends. Its head protrudes and it has a short, wedge-shaped tail. It went extinct in the UK during the early 20th century, due to illegal killing, and the present population has been reintroduced.
Black-Chested Buzzard Eagles are blue-grey in colour with black and white markings. They have grey shoulders barred with black and a black to dark grey breast, while the belly and underparts are white and thinly barred. The wedge-shaped tail is black with a light grey terminal band. The wings are barred blue-grey and long and broad, a physical trait that is characteristic to the species. The head is grey to dark grey and the chin and throat are light grey. The feet, legs, and cere are yellow, and the eyes are brown.
Juveniles are dark brown to black, and the breast is heavily streaked. It takes 4-5 years for a juvenile to reach full adult plumage.
A handsome hawk of the arid Southwest, Harris’s Hawk is a standout with bold markings of dark brown, chestnut red, and white, long yellow legs, and yellow markings on its face. The most social of North American raptors, these birds are often found in groups, cooperatively attending nests and hunting together as a team. When hunting, a group of hawks surround their prey, flush it for another to catch, or take turns chasing it. This hawk’s social nature and relative ease with humans has made it popular among falconers and in education programs.
This is probably the most common hawk in North America. If you’ve got sharp eyes you’ll see several individuals on almost any long car ride, anywhere. Red-tailed Hawks soar above open fields, slowly turning circles on their broad, rounded wings. Other times you’ll see them atop telephone poles, eyes fixed on the ground to catch the movements of a vole or a rabbit, or simply waiting out cold weather before climbing a thermal updraft into the sky.
The Ural owl is a medium-sized nocturnal owl of the genus Strix, with up to 15 subspecies found in Europe and northern Asia. The Ural owl is smaller than the great grey owl, and much larger than the tawny owl, which it superficially resembles.
The Southern Boobook is the smallest and most common owl in Australia. It is identified by its plumage, which is dark chocolate-brown above and rufous-brown below, heavily streaked and spotted with white. The bill is grey with a darker tip, and the feet are grey or yellow. The facial disc is chocolate brown and the eyes are large and yellowish. Tasmanian birds are smaller and more heavily spotted with white, while birds of the Cape York rainforests are slightly larger and darker. Young Southern Boobooks are almost entirely buff-white below, with conspicuous dark brown facial discs. Like other owl species, the Southern Boobook is nocturnal. Birds are often observed perched on an open branch or tree-top. It is also known as the ‘Mopoke’.
The peregrine is a large and powerful falcon. It has long, broad, pointed wings and a relatively short tail. It is blue-grey above, with a blackish top of the head and an obvious black ‘moustache’ that contrasts with its white face. Its breast is finely barred. It is swift and agile in flight, chasing prey.
The strongholds of the breeding birds in the UK are the uplands of the north and west and rocky seacoasts. Peregrines were at a low point in the 1960s due to human persecution and the impact of pesticides in the food chain. Improved legislation and protection has helped the birds to recover and they have now expanded into many urban areas.
However, they are still persecuted – birds are illegally killed to prevent predation on game birds and racing pigeons. They also have eggs and chicks taken for collections and falconry. Peregrines are a Schedule 1 listed species of The Wildlife and Countryside Act.
The stunning African Fish Eagle, with its milk-white head and tail, dark eyes, yellow cere, and chocolate brown back, has become synonymous with Africa’s inland waters, lakes, rivers and dams. In fact, its loud, piercing calls are a characteristic sound around African waterways. If you hear the call of the African Fish Eagle, you are likely to be in a relatively healthy environment.
Like many birds of prey, the African Fish Eagle is an indicator species. How is this so? These eagles need lots of fish to eat and tall trees to perch and nest in. If a waterway is contaminated, the fish and other water animals will die and the eagles will have nothing to eat, so they won’t survive long. If the area has been deforested, the birds will have nowhere to nest or perch and will leave in search of a better place to live. If these eagles are around, they are finding everything they need to survive in that area. If these eagles are missing or disappearing from an environment where they should be found, biologists know that something is wrong and can begin to research the problem.
The African Fish Eagle is normally very territorial, which means it vigorously defends its home turf from other fish eagles or any other bird or critter it perceives as a threat. Most often, you can see this bird perched alone, in pairs, or in small family groups. However, flocks of up to 75 or more have been recorded under special circumstances, such as when water sources are low or around fishing boats. Can you guess why this might be so? The answer, of course, has to do with food. When water sources are low, or fishing boats pull up to shore with a catch, the African Fish Eagles are presented with an opportunity for a relatively easy meal. Though they still might bicker over a fish or two, they tolerate each other at these “all-you-can-eat buffets.” Peregrine Fund.