Buzzard Buteo buteo, in field of winter wheat, Bedfordshire, England

Aren't birds of prey brilliant?

Did you know that red kites used to be so important they were protected by royal decree?

Birds of prey and us

Birds of prey have been treated very differently over the years.

For example, during the Middle Ages, red kites were highly valued. As scavengers, they helped to keep the streets of London and other towns clean of waste and carrion (the decaying dead flesh of an animal). 

However, attitudes towards red kites and other birds of prey changed in the 16th century, when a series of laws encouraged people to kill them as vermin.

It wasn't until 1954 that new laws were passed to make it illegal to kill birds of prey.

There have been a number of successful reintroduction schemes for red kites and white-tailed eagles, and the spectacular sight of sparrowhawks, buzzards and kestrels is less rare than before.

However, there is still much to be done to return these amazing birds to their rightful places within the UK!

10 top birds of prey!

Follow the links below to learn more about 10 top birds of prey! From the awesome osprey, to the brilliant barn owl. 

  1. Barn owl

  2. Buzzard

  3. Hen harrier

  4. Kestrel

  5. Osprey

  6. Peregrine

  7. Red kite

  8. Short-eared owl

  9. Sparrowhawk

  10. White-tailed eagle

See them for yourself!

Kestrel looking at camera

Want to see brilliant birds for yourself? Join us at one of our Date with Nature projects across the UK for your chance to see birds of prey in action.

Make your own bird masks!

Print off this mask and become a barn owl! PDF, 133Kb.

Barn owl mask

Go undercover as an osprey. PDF, 256Kb.

Osprey mask

Colour in your own short-eared owl mask. PDF, 137Kb.

Short-eared owl mask

Get your own mask of the biggest bird of prey in the UK. PDF, 194Kb.

White-tailed eagle mask

Flyers and flappers

PDF, 98Kb.

Barn owl flyer

PDF, 91Kb.

Peregrine flyer

PDF, 105Kb.

Flapping buzzard

PDF, 105Kb.

Flapping osprey

PDF, 130Kb.

Flapping red kite

Birds of prey finger puppets

Show your friends how a peregrine stoops to catch prey! PDF, 128Kb.

Peregrine puppet

Make your own red kite finger puppet. PDF, 132Kb.

Red kite finger puppet

Make sure you get the right colours for a male and female sparrowhawk! PDF, 154Kb.

Sparrowhawk finger puppet

Create a hanging mobile