Birds are incredible animals, and have a wide variety of shapes and sizes. In this post I wanted to focus specifically on some of my favourite birds, the Birds of Prey.

As I have an interest in science, I like to be aware of how different animals are classified. This is called Taxonomy or Taxonomic classification and it allows us to organize and group living things based on shared characteristics, doing this allows us to understand how animals are related to each other. At the highest level living things are grouped into three main domains called Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya, these groups are then divided into smaller groups called Kingdoms, Phyla, Classes, Orders, Families, Genera and Species (we can then go into sub-species and more).

In terms of classification, birds (broadly) fall into the Domain Eukarya, Kingdom Animalia, the Phylum Chordata (meaning animals with a backbone), and the Class Aves to which all birds belong. Within the class Aves there are some 41 Orders, and many families.

Whilst there are many different orders, in this post I wanted to focus specifically on the Birds of Prey. These fall into the main orders below, with families and their inhabitants included:

  • Order: Strigiformes (Owls)
    • Strigidae – true owls or typical owls.
    • Tytonidae -Barn Owls
  • Order: Cathartiformes (New-World Vultures)
    • Cathartidae
  • Order: Accipitriformes (Hawks, Eagles, Vultures & Kites)
    • Sagittariidae – Secretarybird
    • Pandionidae – Ospreys
    • Accipitridae – Hawks, Eagles, Kites, Harriers & Old-World Vultures
  • Order: Falconiformes (falcons, kestrels and caracaras)
    • Falconidae
  • Order: Cariamiformes (seriemas)
    • Cariamidae

It is worth noting that there has been a significant amount of change in the classification of many birds and the advent of DNA sequencing means that what was initially classified in one order or family may be moved into another. This should be taken as a guide only, if in doubt do some searching and confirm yourself.

I love all of the birds of prey, they are incredible creatures and have some amazing abilities, for example the Peregrine falcon (belonging to Family Falconidae) is one of the fastest birds, being able to reach a maximum airspeed of up to 389 km/hr. Another cool fact is the Eagle is reported to have eyesight which is 4-5 times better than a humans.

I have included some of the many photos of birds of prey I have photographed below, usually these are edited in Lightroom CC and are processed with Topaz Sharpen AI, Topaz DeNoise AI and sometimes the colours are brought our with Aurora HDR.

A Black Shouldered Kite photographed at the Western Treatment Plant. Image was edited with Lightroom CC, Aurora HDR and Topaz Photo AI. Part of the Order Accipitriformes and Family Accipitridae
A very wet Black Kite photographed on  Beach Rd near the Western Treatment Plant in Point Wilson, Victoria, Australia. The image was edited in Lightroom, Topaz Photo AI and Topaz Sharpen AI.
A Barn Owl (Tyto alba) photographed at the Full Flight Birds of Prey Centre workshop run in Ballarat by Jay Collier and the Birds of Prey Team. Image was edited in Lightroom CC, Aurora HDR and Topaz Photo AI. The bird was a captive ambassador to the species.
A portrait of a Black Kite (Milvus Migrans) from the Western Treatment Plant (WTP) near Point Wilson, Victoria.
Brown Falcon photographed around Lake Borrie at Point Wilson, Victoria, Australia.
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Next Class Aves - The Birds.

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