Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh. In most cases, the females are considerably larger than the males. The term "raptor” is derived from the Latin word "rapere" (meaning to seize or take by force) and may refer informally to all birds of prey, or specifically to the diurnal group. Because of their overall large size and predatory lifestyle, they face distinct conservation concerns. Raptor conservation:
Over the centuries, birds of prey have had their ups and downs. They have been – and to a degree still are – persecuted by gamekeepers and those with shooting interests, and in the 1960s were poisoned by agricultural pesticides, notably DDT. So it is good to learn that there are some success stories, too. Under its own steam, the Buzzard has spread eastwards in recent decades and is now our commonest raptor. Two other species – the White-tailed Eagle and Red Kite – have had some help from conservationists and are now also doing rather well. Formal classification:
Carl Linnaeus (23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778) was a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology. Binomial nomenclature is the formal system of naming species. The essence of this system of naming is this: each species name is formed out of Latin, and has two parts, the genus name (i.e. the ‘generic’ name) and the species name (i.e. the ‘specific’ name), for example, Homo sapiens, the name of the human species. In traditional Linnaean taxonomy, the seven major taxonomic groupings are Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and...