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About Raptors







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.

American kestrel
Aplomado falcon
Bald eagle
Barn owl
Barred owl
Boreal owl
Broad-winged hawk
Burrowing owl
California condor
Common black hawk
Cooper’s hawk
Crested caracara
Eastern Screech-Owl
Ferruginous hawk
Golden eagle
Gray hawk
Great gray owl
Great horned owl
Harris’ hawk
Long-eared owl
Mississippi kite
Northern goshawk
Northern harrier
Northern hawk owl
Peregrine falcon
Prairie falcon
Red-shouldered hawk
Red-tailed hawk
Rough-legged hawk
Northern Saw-whet owl
Sharp-shinned hawk
Short-eared owl
Snail kite
Snowy owl
Swainson’s hawk
Swallow-tailed kite
Turkey vulture
Zone-tailed hawk

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.

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