Are Owls Raptors or Birds of Prey? Everything You Need To Know

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  • Post last modified:January 30, 2023

Barn owl with mice

Are Owls Raptors or Birds of Prey? 

“Raptors” and “birds of prey” are terms that we are all familiar with. These phrases are used to refer to the bird kingdom and can be used to distinguish between birds that mostly eat other animals and birds that do not.

Raptors and birds of prey are not regarded to be omnivorous birds such as parrots, who eat both vegetation plus animal protein. Carnivores such as owls, on the other hand, hunt and kill their prey primarily because they are carnivores.

So, are owls considered raptors or predatory birds of prey? Instead, they’re predatory birds of prey! Our guide below explains the distinctions between the two and how owls are categorized.

Barn Owls Eating mice

Owls Are Predatory Birds of Prey

Raptors are commonly referred to as “birds of prey” by many people. There is, however, a distinction between the two terms. Raptors are most active and hunt during the daytime hours. A typical day for a bird of prey is spent sleeping while the night is spent hunting.

Due to the fact that owls are nocturnal, they would be classified as birds of prey. In addition, it’s vital to remember that while raptors are classed as “birds of prey,” the opposite is not true in the other direction. Birds of prey are divided into two bird orders.

13 Fun Facts About Owls You Should Know

The Falconiformes are a group of raptors that belong to one of the orders. Over 500 species are included in this group, which includes such animals as the hawk, the vulture, and the eagle.

Owls are members of the second bird order, known as the Strigiformes, which is comprised only of birds of prey rather than raptors. Both orders are known to use similar hunting techniques, however, they are not closely tied or intertwined in any other manner than their hunting techniques.

Owl eating rat

Raptors vs Birds of Prey

Because raptors and birds of prey share many hunting characteristics, owls are occasionally referred to as raptors in the scientific community. Because the distinction between raptors and birds of prey is so slight, the reference is simple to comprehend.

Birds of prey hunt at night, whereas raptors hunt during the daytime hours. As predatory birds of prey, owls have eyes in the front of their faces, as opposed to the majority of raptors, which have eyes on the sides of their heads.

Unlike raptors, who have poor night vision, owls have excellent night vision and can locate prey even when the moon is obscured by clouds.

Both raptors and birds of prey have exceptional depth perception, which allows all of the birds that fall under these two umbrellas to excel at hunting regardless of whether it is daytime or nighttime. Owls have the ability to turn their heads far more to the left and right than the average raptor can.

snowy Owl Eating animals

Why Birds of Prey Are Important?

Birds of prey, such as the owl, are critical components of a functioning ecosystem. These individuals labour hard to keep bug and rodent numbers in control so that these populations do not overwhelm their environs and transform their ecosystem into a food desert.

Controlling prey species on the ground also contributes to the maintenance of healthy plants. If there are no birds of prey on the planet, our own homes could become infested with vermin.

Owls are birds of prey, yet they are not classified as raptors when it comes down to it. Raptors, on the other hand, are classified as birds of prey. Any of these birds can be referred to as predators, which is a convenient way to refer to them.

When hunting for prey, both raptors and birds of prey utilise their strong talons and beaks to bring down their prey, although they do it at various times of the day.

Despite the fact that owls are predators, they are magnificent creatures that any human would be fortunate enough to observe in the wild.

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