Category Predators

What do we know about spectral bats?

The closest relative of the big-eared woolly bat, the spectral bat is a large, carnivorous leaf-nosed bat. It is usually found in Mexico, Central America, and South America.

Known as the great false vampire bat or Linnaeus’s false vampire bat, the spectral bat is in fact the largest carnivorous bat. It has a robust skull and teeth which makes it easy for it to deliver a powerful bite to kill its prey.

What it feeds on depends on the availability of prey. It usually feeds on birds, rodents, and other species of bat. It also eats some insects like beetles. The caloric needs of a spectral bat are high and it has to feed often.

The overall population of the spectral bat is decreasing. In 2018, it was declared ‘near threatened’ by the IUCN.

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What are the characteristics of the big-eared woolly bat?

Big-eared woolly bats are very large predatory bats with diverse feeding habits. They are known to eat geckos and even fruit. They are primarily carnivorous and insectivorous, though.

Big-eared woolly bats can take preys that weigh around 70 grams, but they usually consume smaller ones. They feed primarily on small arthropods and small vertebrates, including beetles, moths, small mammals, birds and even other bat species. But they usually do not consume the catch until they have returned to their roost in their heads-down position.

These bats usually fly slowly, partially because of their large size; their body mass typically ranges from 75 to 96 grams. Big-eared woolly bats live in colonies that are usually small. Even if they live in ground, their colonies are usually small. A typical colony consists of up to seven bats, usually a male-female adult pair and their offspring.

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What do we know about burrowing owls?

Burrowing owls are small owls with long legs and short tails. They have round heads and do not have ear tufts. They are found throughout the open landscapes of North and South America. Unlike most owls, burrowing owls are often active during the day, though they tend to avoid the midday heat.

Burrowing owls hunt close to the ground catching insects and small animals. They spend most of their time on the ground or on low perches such as fence posts. They usually put animal dung around their burrows. This attracts dung beetles which these birds feed on.

These birds are opportunistic predators who hunt by swooping down from their perches and surprising the prey. They also capture prey by hovering over open areas or by running along the ground to chase the prey down. They usually feed on large invertebrates, small mammals, and other birds.

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What is the diet of the great horned owl?

A large owl found in the Americas, the great horned owl is known by many names like tiger owl and hoot owl. It is an efficient night time hunter that strikes from above, and uses its powerful talons to kill and carry animals several times heavier than itself.

Great horned owls have large, thick bodies with two prominent feathered tufts on the head. Their wings are broad and rounded. They are nocturnal birds with a distinct call; it is a deep, stuttering series of four to five hoots.

Great horned owls have a great appetite; they feed on a variety of prey that includes raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, domestic birds, falcons, and other owls. In fact, they feed on any animal they can easily catch. These birds have an incredible digestive system. They swallow their prey whole and later throw up pellets composed of bone, fur, and the other unwanted parts of their meal.

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Why is the Eurasian eagle-owl a prominent predator?

As the name suggests, the Eurasian eagle-owl is found in much of Eurasia and is one of the largest species of owls. Females are slightly larger than males; they grow to a total length of 75 cm and can attain a wingspan of 188 cm.

Though they occupy a range of habitats, Eurasian eagle-owls usually prefer mountain regions, coniferous forests and other relatively remote places. These birds can live up to twenty years in the wild.

Eurasian eagle-owls are nocturnal. They are active at nights and spend their days resting and roosting. Though they prey on a variety of small animals, they are rarely preyed on. If they spend too much time on the ground, they will be at the risk of falling prey to animals like foxes. Their powerful feet and strong wings make them effective predators.

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What do we know about the boreal owl?

The boreal owl is perhaps the cutest of all owls in the world. It is less than one foot tall with large yellow eyes, a chocolate brown body with white mottling, dark feathers which line its facial disk, and white spots on its head. This cute owl is a sit-and-wait predator that hunts from its perches.

Boreal owls hunt primarily at night; they prey on rodents and other small mammals. They roost in different trees every day. Rarely do they hunt in daylight hours. They usually enjoy roosting in dense coniferous trees that offer protection from extreme weather. These forests also make it harder for predators to spot and capture them.

Boreal Owls are found in the northern reaches of North America, including Alaska and Canada and the northern regions of Eurasia. These birds migrate to the south very rarely.

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What does a barn owl prey on?

The barn owl holds the reputation of being the most widely distributed owl species in the world. One of the most widespread of all land birds, it is found on six continents and many islands. It is the silent predator of the night.

Though there are many superstitions surrounding this poor bird, the farmers love barn owls. Barn owls swallow their prey whole. They prey on mice and rats, thereby keeping them away from the fields and barns. They usually feed on small mammals which they locate by sound.

Barn owls mate for life. They look for another partner only if its mate is dead. They have a very distinct appearance as well, with heads that look triangular and white feathers on the face surrounded by brown plumage. Instead of hooting, they give out an eerie screech.

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Why is the Indian eagle-owl unique?


The Indian eagle-owl is usually seen in pairs. It is a huge horned owl species with brown and grey feathers, found in the forests of the Indian sub-continent. It has a white throat patch with a few black stripes. This bird is known by many names: the Indian eagle-owl, rock eagle-owl, Bengal eagle-owl and so on.

Indian eagle-owls are generally nocturnal. They fly with slow, deliberate wingbeats interspersed with long bouts of gliding on outstretched wings. They usually fly close to the ground. They usually hunt from a perch, but will also make low foraging flights to dive on prey.

These big owls exist in steady numbers, with no imminent danger to their population and survival. However, they are not particularly abundant. Many superstitions are associated with these birds as with other owls. They are believed to be the bringers of death and their distinct calls are considered an ill omen.

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What do we know about swallow-tailed kites?

The destruction of habitat of swallow-tailed kites has led to a sharp decline in their numbers. However, thanks to the restoration efforts, their numbers have increased since 2016.

Built like gliders, with huge wings and small, streamlined bodies, swallow-tailed kites are considered one of the most graceful fliers seen in America. They rarely flap their wings during flight; they soar effortlessly and can change directions with the minutest of movements of their forked tails.

These birds feed primarily on flying insects, but during the breeding season they also hunt small vertebrates, including tree frogs, lizards, nestling birds, and snakes. Stinging and biting insects such as wasps and ants also form an important part of their diet. Rarely do they eat small fish and fruits.

It is interesting to watch a swallow-tailed kite drink water; it skims through the surface of water and collects water in its beak.

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Why is it said that American kestrels are good hunters?

The American kestrel is the smallest and most common falcon in North America. It is also known as sparrow hawk. This bird is commonly used in falconry, especially by beginners.

American kestrels often hunt as a family group and this gives the younger ones a chance to practise before they have to survive on their own. They hunt the prey from a perch. After catching their prey, kestrels will carry it up to a perch from which they can comfortably eat. This also helps them to evade ground predators. They feed mainly on insects, mice, voles, lizards, and snakes. These birds are sometimes kept in agricultural fields to keep away animals that might damage the crops.

The wings of an American kestrel are slim and pointed. They have long square-tipped tails. They usually fly with their wings swept back. They are known for quick and buoyant flights.

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