A raptor is a carnivorous (meat-eating) bird. All raptors share at least three main characteristics:
- Keen eyesight
- Eight sharp talons
- A hooked beak
Raptors have existed in some form for 50 to 75 million years. There are approximately 482 species of raptor worldwide, 304 diurnal (day-active) species and 178 nocturnal (night-active) species. This does not include the seven species of New World vultures. Raptors are also called birds of prey.
For the international conservation status of a particular species see the IUCN red list.
For help in identifying raptors, check out the Guide to Identification of Midwest Raptors.
For further learning about raptors, please see our page on owl pellets, including an order form for individualized learning.
To explore individual species of raptors, click on a species name below.
Common black hawk
Great gray owl
Great horned owl
Northern hawk owl
Northern Saw-whet owl
While this list is not a complete list of the world’s raptors, it includes many of the species of raptors found in North America and all of the raptor species seen by The Raptor Center.