We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Raptor?

Mary McMahon
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The term “raptor” is used to refer to a group of birds which hunt for meat and share several common physical traits. These avians are also known as birds of prey because most of them seek out and kill animal foods, eating little to no plant material. They vary widely in size from miniature owls to majestic Andean condors, and also have different body shapes, although all of them are built for speed and efficient hunting.

The Latin word rapere, meaning “to seize” is the root for the word raptor, a reference to the way in which most raptors hunt: flying overhead and then swooping in for the kill. The highly efficient and accurate hunting skills of the raptor have been used by humans for thousands of years to supplement their own hunting skills. Falconers who pursue live prey with raptors for food and sport can be found all over the world practicing their ancient art.

All raptors share a hooked beak, sharp talons, and excellent vision. The talons of the raptor can be used to grip and manipulate prey, and are usually quite large, comparable to the claws of hunting mammals. A hooked beak is useful for tearing at prey and can be used to slice through skin and flesh. The excellent vision of raptors allows them to soar overhead, out of sight of their prey, and still be able to spot potential sources of food.

Hawks, eagles, falcons, osprey, secretary birds, condors, vultures, and owls are all considered raptors. All of these birds are associated with the consumption of meat, and as can be seen, some raptors prefer to scavenge for their meat, rather than actively hunting it. Most raptors build a nest together and raise their young in tandem, helping the young raptors to learn how to hunt prey successfully as they are weaned. In many cases, a raptor pair will return to the same nest year after year, making them unfortunately highly sensitive to human encroachment on their habitat.

In most parts of the world, strength, beauty, and grace are associated with the raptor. Some nations have made raptors their national or state bird; the Bald Eagle, for example, represents the United States. Sadly, because raptor habitat is increasingly under threat by humans, some raptors are seriously endangered. The case of the California Condor was typical; the elegant raptor was almost extinct before serious efforts were made to restore the population, which is still considered endangered. Hopefully global efforts by wildlife advocacy organizations will keep these beautiful birds cruising the skies for future generations to enjoy.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.