Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index



Black-shouldered Kite.
Scientific classification
Order: Falconiformes

The order Falconiformes is a group of about 290 species of birds that include the diurnal birds of prey. Raptor classification is fraught with difficulty and the order is treated in several different ways.

Falconiforms are known from the Middle Eocene and typically have a sharply hooked beak with a cere (soft mass) on the proximodorsal surface, housing the nostrils. Their wings are long and fairly broad, suitable for soaring flight, with the outer 4-6 primaries emarginated.

Falconiformes have strong legs and feet with raptorial claws and an opposable hind claw. Almost all Falconiforms are carnivorous, hunting by sight during the day or at twilight. They are exceptionally long-lived, and most have low reproductive rates.

The young have a long, very fast-growing fledgling stage, followed by 3-8 weeks of nest care after first flight and 1-3 years as sexually immature adults. The sexes have conspicuously different sizes, and monogamy is the general rule.

DNA studies mean that it is likely to be some time until a consensus is restored on this group of birds. See Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy.

External links