Raptors are birds of prey. That mean they eat meat and many of
them like MICE. Many raptors
hunt for their meat but some look for food that is already dead!
Some raptors hunt during the day (diurnal) and others prefer the
night time (nocturnal). Raptors come in all sizes and colors
and can be found around the world in many types of habitats.
Raptors have three special characteristics that make them a
raptor. They have sharp talons on their feet that are great for
grabbing and carrying their prey, a hook beak great for tearing
the meat apart, and excellent vision! The vision test we take
in school would be a piece of cake for a raptor! Many of them
can see their meal a couple of miles away. Depending on which
raptor you are talking about, they also have other special
talents. Some raptors are extremely strong and kill their prey
with their grasp like the eagles and other raptors have a sense
of hearing that is unbelievable like the owls. Other raptors
can fly so fast through the sky like the falcons. Raptors are
very special birds.
Birds are in a class called Aves. Scientists use
scientific classification to divide 'Aves' into groups of
birds that are alike in some way. This means that ALL birds in the world have
been separated into sections based on what is alike about them.
Then the scientists divide each group of birds into a smaller
group--still based on things that are alike.
An example of how this works is to imagine that you are in
school. Your teacher wants to take the whole class and divide
you into groups based on what is alike about you. She
tells all of the blonde children to go in one corner and
brown-haired in another, and red-haired in still another. She
then takes each group and separates them even more by eye color.
So, the blonde 'class' might have two groups inside of it: blue
eyed children and brown eyed children. These two groups
might be split again into children who are right handed or left
more on how scientific classification is done,
Falconiformes and Strigiformes are two
orders in the class of Aves. This is where the raptors come
However scientists were still having trouble deciding which bird
goes in which order so the Falconiformes were divided again into
families. They needed to do this because they were not only
working with likenesses you can see but also the changes in
molecules and chromosomes in the birds over thousand of years.
Falconiforme families are: