Birds of Prey belong to the order Accipitriformes and are moste diurne birds, they feed on a range of small to medium sized mammals and catch their prey alive. Some larges species live on carrion (vultures)
Despite owls also feeding on live prey they do not belong to the order Accipitriformes but to the order Strigiformes.
The main characteristics are:
The term birds of prey covers 47 diurne species in three families. The following classification only relates to the Palaearctic region.
Order: Birds of Prey (Accipitriformes)
Family: Eagels and Hawks(Accipitridae)
Subfamily: Goshawks and Sparrowhawks (Accipitrinae)
Species: Goshawks and Sparrowhawks (Accipiter)
Subfamily: Old World Vultures (Aegypiinae)
Species: True Eagles (Aquila)
Subfamily: Buteonine Hawks (Buteoninae)
Species: Buzzards (Buteo)
Subfamily: Short-toed Snake Eagle (Circaetinae)
Species: Short-toed Snake Eagle (Circaetus)
Subfamily: Harriers (Circinae)
Species: Harriers (Circus)
Subfamily: Elanine Kites (Elaninae)
Species: Black-winged Kites (Elanus)
Species: Sea Eagles (Haliaeetus)
Subfamily: Milvine Kite (Milvinae)
Species: Milvine Kites (Milvus)
Subfamily: Honey Buzzards (Perninae)
Species: Honey Buzzards (Pernis)
Species: Osprey (Pandion)
Buzzards belong to the species Buteo and are distributed in the Palaearctic in four genera:
Bussarde gehören zur Gattung Buteo und kommen in der Paläarktis in vier Arten vor:
Common Buzzards are medium-sized birds of prey with broad wings. They love soaring in thermals over fields and meadows during noon. Especially Common Buzzards can be seen in larger numbers soaring in thermals and gliding down to the next thermal.
Another characteristic of the common buzzard is sitting on poles or fences searching fields and meadows waiting for some prey to arrive.
Common Buzzards feed on small rodents, even rats, lizzards and earthworms .
The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is an eagle and belongs to the order Accipitriformes (eagles). However, because of its special character the Osprey is the one and only species of the Pandionidae family. The Osprey has a truly cosmopolitan range and can be found nearly all over the world.
In Europe, until the late 60s of the 20th century hunting brought the osprey near extinction. Nowadays the osprey can be found breeding in central Europe again. The osprey breeds near lakes / lake districts and it is possible to watch the birds hunting over the lakes, when the osprey slides over the lake, sometimes at higher altitudes and also hovering over the water shortly. Fish hunting is done be nose diving into the water, during which the birds shortly immerses in the water and then gets out again with its wings flapping only to continue the flight. Not every attempt at catching a fish is successful.
Size: 52-60 cm
Wingspread: 152-167 cm
Breeding grounds: near freshwater lakes and rivers, also on brackish water in the coastal areas; also on rock cliffs (Australia)
Maturity: Usually the osprey becomes adult in the third year and usually mates for life.
Nest: usually on trees, in certain areas on rock cliffs. The nest consists of large sticks, driftwood and driftwood and can size up to 2 m across
Wintering: European populations winter in North Africa
The nose dive of an osprey can be seen in the following four pics. That attempt at catching a fish was unsuccessful. In pic four one can see that the bird's feet are empty.