Birds of Prey

The first gallery feature species from three families. Raptors (Accipitridae) these are cosmopolitan birds that occupy mostly forest and wooded habitat. New World vultures (Cathartidae) hold an extreme range of land habitats in the New World. Osprey (Pandionidae) there are only four subspecies that inhabit a broad array of coastal and water environments. A supplementary gallery shows the plumage of juvenile, immature and adult white-bellied sea-eagles. Displayed in the third gallery are typical owls (Strigidae). These are cosmopolitan birds that occupy terrestrial habitats from the Arctic to tropics.

Raptors, NW Vultures and Osprey

Raptors, NW Vultures and Osprey Notes

Most featured species are ‘Red List 2019’ assessed as ‘Least Concern’. Exceptions are the grey-headed fish-eagle, red kite and Andean condor, listed as ‘Near Threatened’ and the Galapagos Hawk listed as ‘Vulnerable’.

Most accipitrids and the osprey exhibit reverse size dimorphism where females are larger than males. New World vultures only exhibit minimal plumage and size dimorphism; an exception is an Andean condor which shows a higher degree of plumage dimorphism. It’s difficult to identify gender when photographing lone individuals.

Two of my favourite raptor species are the endemic Galapagos hawk because it is one of the few endemic raptors. And the white-bellied sea-eagle that starts with brown plumage changing to white at the age of five to six. The supplementary gallery below shows the plumage of juvenile, immature and adult birds.

Oriental honey-buzzard identification of subspecies is difficult because there are several morphs of the.  I think the male is a ‘dark morph’ and the female a ‘normal morph’, probably both ssp torquatus. Males have dark eyes, while females have yellow eyes.

I photographed a female variable hawk, ‘pale morph’ at 3812m in the Antisana Ecological Reserve in Ecuador’s high Andes. This high-altitude subspecies occurs between 2800m-5000m. The bird had just pounced on a small animal and was flying away with its prey.

I’ve photographed the displayed species in habitats that included gardens, forest, woodland, often near fresh or saltwater in Australia, England, Singapore, Trinidad, Ecuador, Galapagos and New Zealand. Some species were breeding residents, while others were migratory or seasonal visitors.

Plumage of Juvenile, Immature and Adult White-bellied Sea-eagles

White-bellied Sea-eagle Plumage Notes

Images are showing phases in plumage from juvenile through first and second-year immatures to young-adult and adult, which takes around four to five years. Adults breed around six years, and they probably have around a 30 years life span.

Typical Owls

Typical Owls Notes

Images of displayed species are ‘Red List 2019’ assessed as ‘Least Concern’ exceptions are the grey-headed fish-eagle and red kite listed as ‘Near Threatened’. Habitats included gardens, forest, woodland, sometimes near freshwater. Some species were breeding residents, while others were migratory or seasonal visitors. This nocturnal family of birds can be challenging to photograph as they are often asleep when trying to photograph them. I’ve photographed these species in Australia, England, Singapore, Trinidad and New Zealand.

The short-eared owl (Asio flammeus galapagoensis) is Galapagos endemic sub-species.

Birds of Prey Taxonomy

The Lanbirds I Webpage describes the higher-level taxonomy for the birds of prey families.