African Pygmy Falcon

Though it is the smallest raptor in Africa, the African pygmy falcon is a powerful predator. Preferring to hunt early and late in the day to avoid the midday heat, the falcon perches and searches the ground for insects, lizards and other small animals. With a swoop, it snatches up prey in its talons.

Spectacled owl

The spectacled owl roosts by day in a branch or tree hole. At night, it pinpoints prey with its excellent hearing in the dark forest. Its fringed feathers make little to no sound during flight so the owl can swoop in on prey without detection and carry it off in its sharp talons.

Lanner Falcon

The lanner falcon is one of the few birds of prey to hunt cooperatively. One falcon flushes up a pigeon or other small bird from its hiding place; then the other swoops in to catch it. Instead of diving after prey like a peregrine falcon does, the lanner falcon flies in horizontally, reaching speeds up to 90 mph.

Rüppell’s Vulture

Native to Africa, the Ruppell’s vulture is a large bird that has a beak powerful enough to break and crunch bones. This is essential for survival since they feed solely on dead animals. Vultures can often be seen flying overhead as they spend much of their day soaring high looking for food.

Lappet-faced Vulture

With a wingspan up to nine feet wide, the lappet-faced vulture is the largest vulture in Africa. Its name comes from the folds of skin on either side of its neck called lappets. These powerful birds are able to scare most other birds and even some mammals away when protecting a carcass on which it is feeding.

Barred owl

Perched in a tree, the barred owl scans the forest floor for small creatures. Large, forward-facing eyes equip the owl with exceptional vision and an acute ability to judge distances. Soft, fringed feathers silent the owl’s flight as it swoops down to catch its unsuspecting prey.

Red-tailed Hawk

Preferring open country, the red-tailed hawk is often spotted atop telephone poles and tree branches alongside roads. From there, it can scan the ground below for small rodents or other prey. It also searches for prey as it soars high above on broad wings. A hawk’s eyesight is eight times better than our own.

Bald Eagle

In the 1960’s, populations of our national symbol, the bald eagle, fell drastically.  Pesticides such as DDT accumulated in their prey and thus bald eagles, leading to infertile eggs or eggshells that were too thin.  Protection of the bald eagle and its habitat, banning of some pollutants and breeding and reintroduction are helping populations recover.

Eurasian Eagle Owl

With wings that can span up to six feet, the Eurasian eagle owl is one of the largest owls in the world. Its powerful yet silent wings enable this night hunter to stealthily swoop down and scoop up prey. They can even catch other birds in mid-air.

Steller’s Sea Eagle

Never far from water, the Steller’s sea eagle displays impressive fishing skills. Taking advantage of warm updrafts of air, the eagle glides above the water, looking out for fish. Its favorite prey, the salmon, has an extremely tough skin for which the eagle is equipped with a specialized hatchet-like beak.