Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
n. A carnivorous bird that hunts for its food, especially one that preys on vertebrates.
Birds of prey, also known as raptors, hunt and feed on other animals. The term "raptor" is derived from the Latin word rapere (meaning to seize or take by force). These birds are characterized by keen vision that allows them to detect prey during flight and powerful talons and beaks.
Many species of birds may be considered partly or exclusively predatory. However, in ornithology, the term "bird of prey" applies only to birds of the families listed below. Taken literally, the term "bird of prey" has a wide meaning that includes many birds that hunt and feed on animals and also birds that eat very small insects. In ornithology, the definition for "bird of prey" has a narrower meaning: birds that have very good eyesight for finding food, strong feet for holding food, and a strong curved beak for tearing flesh. Most birds of prey also have strong curved talons for catching or killing prey. An example of this difference in definition, the narrower definition excludes storks and gulls, which can eat quite large fish, partly because these birds catch and kill prey entirely with their beaks, and similarly bird-eating skuas, fish-eating penguins, and vertebrate-eating kookaburras are excluded. Birds of prey generally prey on vertebrates, which are usually quite large relative to the size of the bird. Most also eat carrion, at least occasionally, and vultures and condors eat carrion as their main food source. Many raptor species are considered apex predators. Most birds of prey are avivores that feed on other birds. (With the exception on scavangers and osprey.) Avian avivores are beneficial to humans due to prey on Avian pests and rabbits that are harmful pest to humans.
Bird of prey refers to several species of carnivorous birds. The term is often used metaphorically.
It may also refer to:
- Boeing Bird of Prey, a black project Boeing aircraft
- Boeing EC-135E, nicknamed "Bird of Prey"
- Birds of Prey (ski course), name of ski course in Beaver Creek, Colorado
- Birds of Prey (video game), a 1992 flight simulator for the Amiga and IBM PC by Argonaut Games
- Birds of Prey (game), a table top air combat game from Ad Astra Games
- IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey, a 2009 combat flight simulator game
- World Center for Birds of Prey, the international headquarters for raptor conservation, in Boise, Idaho
Bird of Prey is a British techno-thriller television serial written by Ron Hutchinson and produced by Michael Wearing and Bernard Krichefski for the BBC in 1982. It was directed by Michael Rolfe. The second series was co-written with Lee Montague.
The series starred Richard Griffiths and Carole Nimmons as Henry and Anne Jay: Henry is a humble civil servant who finds that he and his wife are drawn into a conspiracy involving the mysterious Le Pouvoir organisation. A sequel, Bird of Prey 2 followed in 1984.
"Bird of Prey" is a song by British progressive rock/ hard rock band Uriah Heep, from the group's US version of their 1970 debut album Very 'Eavy... Very 'Umble (released as Uriah Heep in the United States) and 1971's album Salisbury. A different version of the song would also appear on the 2003 remaster of Very 'Eavy... Very 'Umble. Although not released as a single, the song is regarded by many fans as one of the band's most popular songs. The song is the B-side of the band's first ever worldwide single " Gypsy".
Usage examples of "bird of prey".
His hands were large and strong, and there was something in his hard blue eyes and great curving nose that suggested the fierceness of some splendid bird of prey.
A part of him was surprised that his eyes, the eyes of a bird of prey, could still perform for him as they used to.
To them, any bird of prey must be harassed, but goshawks must be unmercifully bedeviled.
Giyan, deep in Ayame, the Osoru Otherwhere, had taken the form of her Avatar, Ras Shamra, the giant bird of prey.
The iron base was stamped with the Surlord's seal: the Killhound rampant, the great smoke gray bird of prey sinking claws the size of meat hooks into the tip of the Iron Spire.
It was said the great bird of prey could kill an elk with its foot-long claws and bear it aloft to its mountain eyrie.
In the blue light Mikhail of Aldaran looked more than ever like some aged and molting bird of prey, motionless on his block, but when he raised his head the power and the menace were there, silent potential.
A bird of prey was a better glider than a crow, and she needed the eagle's sharp eyes.
No bird of prey would shriek so close to its prey and, thereafter, it must keep its beak firmly clasped around it.