What is falconry?

What is falconry? 

Falconry is the tradition of hunting with birds of prey, or raptors. It is called falconry because the birds are in the Falconidae family, which includes all birds of prey that kill their prey with their sharp beaks.

Birds in the Falconidae family include falcons, gyrfalcons, hobbies, kestrels, and merlins.

Other birds of prey are also trained, such as those in the Accipitridae family, including eagles, goshawks, and hawks. Accipiters kill their prey with their feet, by swooping on their prey and killing it with their sharp claws, called talons.

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Common Buzzard

The Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) is a medium-sized bird of prey, and a raptor, in the Accipitridae family of accipiters. It is related to the Balkans Long-Legged Buzzard and the Steppe Buzzard. 

The Common Buzzard can be varied in colour from light to dark, although it usually has orange-tinted feathers with dark lines, a red or orange tail, a pale head and white underwings. It has a rounded hear with a sharp, thin, hooked beak and large eyes. It has short legs and sharp claws, called talons. 

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Western Marsh Harrier

The Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) is a large bird of prey, a raptor and an accipiter in the Accipitridae family of hawks.

The Western Marsh Harrier has reddish-brown feathers with light coloured streaks. Its head and shoulders are pale yellowish-grey. Its legs and feet are yellow. It has orange-brown eyes with a bright yellow eye-ring. Its beak is grey-black. The female is darker, and almost chocolate brown. 

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Himalayan Griffon

The Himalayan Griffon (Gyps himalayensis) is a large bird of prey, a raptor, and an accipiter. It is a vulture. It is also known as the Himalayan Griffon Vulture. It is related to the Eurasian Griffon (Gyps fulvus). 

The Himalayan Griffon has a long, spiky, pale-brown ruff around its neck with white streaks. Its head has pale blue skin, covered with soft, yellowish down feathers. Its underside and underwings are pale-brown or buff-coloured. Its legs are feathered, and its feet can be greenish-grey to white. Its upperbody is pale and unstreaked with contrasting dark-brown wings. It has a grey, hooked beak, and small, orange-brown eyes. 

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Bearded Vulture

The Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) is a large bird of prey, an accipiter, and a raptor. It is closely related to the Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus).

The Bearded Vulture is dark-grey, rusty, and white. It is grey-blue to grey-black along its back with a cream-coloured forehead and orange-rust feathers on its head, chest, and legs. Its tail and wings are grey. It has black bands across its eyes. It has chin bristles that look like a beard. It has a small, feathered head with a powerful neck, long narrow wings, and a long, wedge-shaped tail. It has sharp talons (claws). When it walks, its gait appears like a waddling duck. It has bright red eye-rings. 

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Indian Spotted Eagle

The Indian Spotted Eagle (Clanga hastata) is a large bird of prey, a raptor, and an accipiter. 

The Indian Spotted Eagle has light brown feathers with white spotted markings on its back, head, and neck. It has a broad head and a wide mouth with a sharp, downward curved, black beak. Its cere (at the base of its beak) is light-beige. Its eyes are dark brown. Its upper tail is light brown with white bars. It has yellowish feet with strong, sharp talons (claws). 

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European Honey Buzzard

The European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus) is a medium-sized bird of prey, an accipiter, and a raptor. It is also called the Pern. 

The European Honey Buzzard is eagle-like with a small head, flat wings, and a long tail with a few dark bars. Its feathers are honey-brown. The male has a blue-grey head, and the female has a brown head. The female is slightly darker than the male. Both the male and the female have yellowish to light-orange eyes, and a grey beak with a yellow cere. 

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Booted Eagle

The Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus) is a medium-sized bird of prey, a raptor, and an accipiter.

The Booted Eagle is mainly light grey with a darker head and flight feathers. Its feathers are flecked with black. It has feathers on its legs right down to its feet, which are called boots. It has a strong, downward curved black beak with a dark cere. Its eyes are dark. Its tail is dark above and white underneath (on its vent). It has brown feet with strong, sharp talons (claws).

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What is the difference between the Asian Golden Eagle, the Eastern Imperial Eagle, and the Steppe Eagle?

What is the difference between the Asian Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos daphanea), the Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca), and the Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)?

The Asian Golden Eagle, the Eastern Imperial Eagle, and the Steppe Eagle are all large birds of prey, raptors, and accipiters from the Northern Hemisphere.

The Asian Golden Eagle, the Eastern Imperial Eagle, and the Steppe Eagle all have a dark-grey or black-tipped sharply down-turned beak with a yellow cere (the hard substance at the top of the beak).

The difference between them is mainly due to size, colour, and flight.

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Asian Golden Eagle

The Asian Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos daphanea) is a large bird of prey, and one of the most common. It is a raptor and an accipiter. It is also called the Himalayan Golden Eagle or the Berkut.

The Asian Golden Eagle is dark-brown with red-golden-brown feathers on the back of its neck. It is blackish on its back. It has white on its tail and some white markings on its long, strong wings. It has a grey beak with a dark, sharply down-turned tip. Its beak has a yellow cere. It has grey legs, and grey feet with long claws.

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Eastern Imperial Eagle

The Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) is a large bird of prey. It is a raptor and an accipiter.

The Eastern Imperial Eagle is dark-brown with white shoulder patches and pale-cream feathers at the back of its neck. It has a grey base to its bi-coloured tail. It has grey legs with large claws, called talons. Its eyes are brown and its beak is sharply-hooked and grey with a yellow cere.

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Bateleur Eagle

The Bateleur Eagle (Terathopius ecaudatus) is a large African bird. It is a raptor and an accipiter (birds with powerful hooked beaks and powerful sharp talons).

The Bateleur Eagle is dark-black with a short, chestnut-coloured tail. It has extremely long, pointed wings that are white underneath. It has grey or brown shoulders, and a chestnut back. It has a yellow beak and a brilliant bare red face and base of bill (called the cere). It has an enormous head. Its legs are short and bright red.

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African White-Backed Vulture

The African White-Backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) is an African bird of prey. It is a raptor, an accipiter, related to eagles, kites, buzzards, griffons, and hawks.

The African White-Backed Vulture has dark-brown feathers, except for lighter white  and brown back feathers, and a white neck ruff (collar). Its head and neck are bare, with just a few downy-soft feathers. It has a grey-black beak and dark eyes. It has very large wings and short tail feathers.

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Lappet-Faced Vulture

The Lappet-Faced Vulture (Torgos torgos tracheliotus) is a massive African vulture. It is also called the Nubian Vulture. It is a raptor and accipiter (like hawks, eagles, kites, and buzzards).

The Lappet-Faced Vulture is black-brown with white streaked underparts. Its head and its back of head are bare, with no feathers, and are bright pink and wrinkled. The wrinkles are called fleshy lappets. It has a large ivory or brown beak, with a grey cere.  It has dark-brown eyes. Its legs and feet are blue-grey with white thigh feathers called boots.

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