Raptors

Raptors are Birds of Prey

What are Raptors?

Raptors, also known as birds of prey, are a group of carnivorous birds that includes eagles, hawks, harriers, falcons, kites, vultures, osprey, and owls. These birds include some of the most impressive animals in Canaveral National Seashore and Florida. They include the bald eagle, the United States National Bird, and several endangered species.

Raptors are a diverse group of carnivorous birds and feed on a variety of animals, including fish, small mammals, reptiles, insects, and other birds. Birds of prey are well known for speed, strength, and keen senses like hearing and eye sight. Their curved beaks and sharp talons are used to catch prey, scavenge, build nests, and defend themselves. 

Migrating and resident raptors can be watched and photographed throughout the year in Canaveral National Seashore.

Osprey with a catfish during a guided kayak tour through Canaveral National Seashore and Mosquito Lagoon. These are the most common raptors Viking EcoTours sees on guided kayak tours.

Birds of Prey

Birds of prey hunt, scavenge, and feed on other animals. They are characterized by keen vision that allows them to spot their prey from a distance, and sharp talons and curved beaks that they use to kill and tear their prey into small pieces that they can swallow.

Raptors play important roles in their ecosystems by removing dead, old, weak, and sick animals from the environment. Raptors also limit the spread of disease in the environment by eating dead and sick animals. They are sensitive to environmental changes and chemicals in the environment so they are often considered indicators of the health of an ecosystem.

Birds of Prey in Canaveral National Seashore

There are several species of raptors that can be found in the Canaveral National Seashore, which is a National Park located on the east coast of Florida. Some of the species that you might see there include burrowing owls, osprey, bald eagles, Cooper’s hawks, and peregrine falcons. All of these birds are skilled hunters and scavengers that feed on a variety of prey, including fish, rodents, insects, and other birds. The National Seashore is home to a diverse array of wildlife and provides important habitat for thousands of species. More than 310 bird species can be found in Canaveral too. It is a popular destination for birdwatching, hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor activities.

Florida’s Atlantic coast has huge parks & forests, ADA compliant paths, wildlife drives, & guided tours that make bird watching and photography easy for experts and beginners. Canaveral National Seashore & Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge are local hotspots for birding and wildlife photography.

Bald Eagle

Bald eagle flying over Canaveral National Seashore during a guided kayaking tour. These birds of prey are some of the largest raptors we see in the National Park.
Bald Eagle flying over Canaveral National Seashore.

Osprey

Osprey soaring over Canaveral National Seashore. These raptors, also known as birds of prey, have sharp barbed talons, curved beaks, and large powerful wings.
Osprey soaring over Canaveral National Seashore. These raptors, also known as birds of prey, have sharp barbed talons, curved beaks, and large powerful wings.

Swallow-tailed Kite

Swallow-tailed kite, a raptor, soaring over Canaveral National Seashore during a guided kayak tour.
Swallow-tailed kite, a raptor, soaring over Canaveral National Seashore.

Other Birds

Great blue heron, a shorebird, in Canaveral National Seashore

Shorebirds

Shorebirds can be found along the shorelines and wetlands of Canaveral National Seashore. Many shorebirds species are prey for raptors like the Cooper’s Hawk

Comb Jellies showing bioluminescence
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Guest moves handsfree on guided sunrise & morning pedal kayak tours through Canaveral National Seashore. This was from the Apollo Beach Visitor center and is a way to kayak New Smyrna Beach.
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Red-shouldered hawk, holding a Florida lubber. These raptors catch different types prey including insects, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and sometimes other birds.
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Great blue heron perched in tree on Florida birding and kayak tour. Viking EcoTours typically sees these shorebirds along the shoreline near maritime hammocks and mangrove islands during kayaking tours.
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Amazing sunsets during guided kayak tour along Canaveral National Seashore. These guided kayak tours travel through Canaveral National Seashore and launch from Edgewater or New Smyrna Beach.
Viking EcoTours uses pedal kayaks so exploring Canaveral...
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