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.
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.