Raptors are also known as birds of prey. The word "raptor" is not a scientific term, but is derived from the latin word "rapere" which means "to sieze." Raptors are carnivorous birds that feed on live captured prey or carrion, and share three common traits:

  • Highly developed eyesight
  • Sharp talons
  • A hooked beak

Raptors include Owls, Hawks, Falcons, Eagles, Ospreys, and Vultures.

In Maryland, the most common raptors include Barred Owl, Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Red-Tailed Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Osprey, Bald Eagle, American Kestral, Peregrine Falcon, Black Vulture, and Turkey Vulture.

Less common (or seen only during migration) are Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Short-Eared Owl, Snowy Owl, Rough-Legged Hawk, Merlin & Golden Eagle.