Raptors, or birds of prey, includes the hawks, eagles, kites, buzzards, harriers, ospreys, falcons and owls. They are predators, typically taking live prey, though some also scavenge and subsist on carrion. The word ‘raptor’ is derived from the Latin verb rapere, to take by force.
As top predators they are superb indicators of the health of our countryside, reflecting the numbers and diversity of prey, as well as the condition of the food chain. Scotland is one of the best places in Europe to see birds of prey. At least 19 species nest here regularly, and several more are occasional breeders or visit us on migration, as non-breeders or vagrants. Scotland supports more than 50% of the UK breeding population of six species: white-tailed eagle, hen harrier, golden eagle, osprey, merlin and short-eared owl. Here we are fortunate enough to have regular sightings of Raptors, make sure your camera is at the ready – their beauty is breathtaking.
For more in-depth information about Raptors including their breeding, hunting, life cycle and threats, coupled with stunning images, download a copy of Raptors Naturally Scottish written by Helen Riley for & on behalf of Scottish Natural Heritage.
An enlightening publication about Raptors, Birds of Prey, by Scottish Natural Heritage. What will you see in the skies above Dunkeld and Birnam?