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What makes a bird a “bird of prey”?

bird bird of prey
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What makes a bird a “bird of prey”?

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Birds of prey, also known as raptors — from the Latin word “rapture,” to seize or grasp — may be as large as the Andean condor, which has a ten-foot wingspan, or as small as the tiny black-thighed falconet, which is less than seven inches tall. In general, raptors are characterized by several distinct features: They hunt for their food and eat meat, they have sharp, hooked beaks, they have keen eyesight, and in particular they have strong talons for gripping and killing their prey. Although there is one exception to this last point: vultures do not have strong talons for killing prey because they are scavengers that do not hunt down live prey. Raptors are set apart from other birds — such as ravens and magpies — that hunt, eat meat, and have strong, sharp beaks but aren’t considered birds of prey because they don’t kill with their feet.

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