RAPTORS USED IN FALCONRY

There are many raptors used in falconry and none of them are exactly the same. They all have pros and cons. The sub-menu for Raptors will have a page describing the normally used falconry birds. Although others do exist and get used occasionally as well, this covers the most commonly seen. Below this entry you’ll find a few bird specific websites as well as a broad overview summary of the raptor family comparison (ignoring owls).

COMPARISON OF SELECTED TRAITS BETWEEN THE ORDER ACCIPITRIDAE AND THE ORDER FALCONIDAE – CALIFORNIA HAWKING CLUB

Trait/Characteristic Accipitridae
(accipiters, buteos, eagles)
Falconidae
(longwings)
Beak naked cere, no bone in nostril, rarely toothed, upper and lower beak smooth cere often has bristles, bony tuberical in nostril, upper and lower beak often toothed and notched
Eye color typically varies with age permanent dark is typical
Primary moult
(falconry number system)
from #10 forward from #6 inwards then outwards
Nesting site typical in trees, cliffs or on ground, build their own typical in cavities, or recesses, or on ledges, rarely on ground or in trees, never build their own nest
Fratricide common rare
Defecation forceful ejection over the side of the nest (slice) directly over the edge
Juvenile plumage typical streaked on body rarely streaked body (peregrine being the exception)
Apprentice level bird red-tailed hawk kestrel
Falconry birds red-tailed hawk
ferruginous hawk
sharp-shinned hawk
cooper’s hawk
goshawk
harris’ hawk
inter-species hybrid
kestrel
merlin
prairie falcon
peregrine
gyrfalcon
inter-species hybrid

(Page and information used with permission from pfht.org)