What is a raptor?
Also known as birds of prey, raptors are a group of birds including hawks, falcons, vultures, owls, and more. In addition to being carnivores (only eating meat), they have three other traits which distinguish them form other birds:
Why are they important?
Como depredadores, las aves rapaces brindan importantes servicios ecosistémicos. Los depredadores activos, como los gavilanes o los búhos, ayudan a controlar las plagas al comer roedores, mientras que los carroñeros, como los gallinazos, ¡eliminan las enfermedades del medio ambiente!
Additionally, predators such as birds of prey are important indicator species. Because they depend on healthy populations of their prey, declines in raptor numbers also often signal declines in other, less noticeable species.
What are the main threats to raptors?
- Habitat loss/degradation is the most important threat to the majority of animals in the world and raptors are no exception. As humans continue building over ecosystems, birds have less food and places for nesting available. Even remaining habitats may be degraded by the invasion of exotic species and the effects of climate change.
- Poison can enter raptor's bodies in various ways. Lead can be ingested as fishing weights or bullets left in prey animals, while rodenticides can be ingested by both rodents and the birds which eat them.
- Collisions with man-made objects such as windows, cars, wind turbines, planes, and electrical lines can be lethal for birds of prey.
- Intentional hunting is not as common of a problem as other threats, but landowners in many countries have been known to trap, poison or shoot raptors they perceive as nuisances or dangers to livestock.