10 Species of Flying Predators in India

The Flying Predators who hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision, They locate their prey by combination of sound and movement. “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.

Flying Predator’s includes kites, buzzards, falcon, harriers, eagles and owl are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. The Himalayan griffon vulture,an old world vulture in the family of accipitridae is the second largest old world vulture found only in the Himalayas mountains of India.

Similarities and Difference Between Kite Hawk and Eagle

Hawks (Goshawk/Sparrowhawk)

The small size flying predator is a widespread resident of the Indian forests and found in dry area as well. The hawks occupy every type of habitat in India from grasslands and fields to forests and wetlands.


These are mainly woodland birds with long tails and high visual acuity, hunting by sudden dashes from a concealed perch. The hawks feeds on small mammals, birds, reptiles and insects.

Buzzard (Honey Buzzard/White-eyed Buzzard)


The white-eyed buzzard is a medium to large bird of prey found all across India. This slim and small sized hawk is easily identified by its white iris to the eye and the white throat and dark stripe.

White_Eyed_ Buzzard

They feed mainly on locusts, grasshoppers, crickets and other large insects as well as mice, snakes,lizards and frogs. They may also take crabs and fish from wetlands and can take larger prey like rabbit, the Indian hare.


Kites (Black/Brahminy/Winged Kite)


The black kites or Indian kites are medium-sized bird of prey, distributed across India. The Indian black kites are opportunistic hunters, spend a lot of time soaring and gliding in thermals in search of food more likely to scavenge. The small Indian kite is a sub species of the big black kite and slightly different from red kites.

  • Black Kite
  • Brahminy Kite
  • Black Winged Kite

The small size raptors are well adapted to living in Indian cities, they attracted to smoke and fires for escaping prey like birds, bats and rodents.


Falcon (Peregrine/ Amur)

  • Amur Falcon
  • Laggar Falcon
  • Shaheen Falcon
  • Peregrine Falcon

The Laggar falcon is a mid-sized bird of prey which occurs in the India and neighbor countries. The laggar falcon was a common species found mostly in the great thar desert of Rajasthan but due to use of pesticide in the region the numbers have declined.

Peregrine -Falcon

The famous and rare bird species found inhabiting Indian little rann of kutch wildlife sanctuary and tal chhapar wildlife sanctuary. The dark brown falcon Laggar falcon feeds mainly on Indian spiny-tailed lizard, rodents,big insects and small birds.

Eagle( Crested/Spotted/Serpent)


The Indian spotted eagle is a large bird of prey and belongs to the family of accipitridae. The biggest Indian flying predator is about 60 cm in length and has a wingspan of 150 cm, broad-headed with the widest mouth of all spotted eagles.

  • Spotted Eagle
  • Steppe Eagle
  • Tawny Eagle
  • Black Eagle
  • Serpent Eagle
  • Fish Eagle
  • Golden Eagle
  • Hawk Eagle
  • Sea Eagle
  • Booted Eagle
  • Snake Eagle
  • Bonelli’s Eagle
  • Imperial Eagle

The Indian spotted eagle habitat is distributed over the gangetic plains, in the east to Manipur, in Madhya Pradesh, southern Orissa and in south mudumala, nilgiris of Tamil Nadu and also found at some of bird sanctuaries.


Due to habitat loss, deforestation and loss of prey the greater Indian spotted eagle falls in the category of vulnerable species in India.



Harrier birds are several species of diurnal hawks hunt by flying low over open ground. Marsh harrier is the medium-sized raptors along with Pallid harrier, found in India.



The Osprey known as the sea hawk or Indian fish eagle is a fish-eating bird of prey. The white-bellied sea eagle is a large diurnal bird of prey in the family of accipitridae and a resident from India. The white-bellied sea eagle hunts mainly aquatic animals, such as fish, turtles and sea snakes,but it takes birds, such as little penguins, coots and shear waters, and mammals as well.


They have been reported traveling upriver to hunt for Indian flying foxes. Other two super species of Indian sea eagles are lesser fish eagle and pallas fish eagle, found mostly at kaziranga national park and north eastern parts of India.

Great Horned Owl

The Indian great horned owl also known as Indian eagle-owl is a species of large horned owl found in hilly and rocky scrub forests of India. The Indian eagle-owl is a nocturnal predator, mostly feeds on Indian roller, rodents, birds, snakes and flying squirrels one of the best pry for rock horned owl.


The great Indian horned owl is one of the most formidable aerial predators of the Indian forest. Due to it’s distinctive face, large forward-facing eyes, horns and deep resonant it is considered as a birds of ill omen like many other large owls.

Indian False Vampire Bat

The greater false vampire bat is one of the few carnivorous bats found mainly in India. The vampire bat is a night predator and some time a prey for eagles, hawks and great horned owl. The greater vampire bat hunt from dusk and eat small bats, small birds, lizards, frogs, fish, mice and rats as well as large insects.

The big ears Indian false vampire bat habitat in humid forest,roosts in caves, abandoned mines and attics of houses. One of other species of vampire bat is the lesser false vampire bat,found only in western ghat’s of India.

Indian Vulture


The Indian vulture is an old world vulture closely related to the griffon vulture. The critically endangered Indian vulture is one of three species of endangered vultures found in India, other two are white-rumped vulture and slender-billed vulture. The Indian vulture inhabits cities, towns and villages near cultivated areas, as well as open and wooded areas. Here is the list of Vulture species found in India.

  • Indian Vulture
  • Griffon Vulture
  • Himalayan Vulture
  • Egyptian Vulture
  • Bearded Vulture
  • Monk Vulture
  • Red Headed Vulture
  • White Rumped Vulture
  • Slender Billed Vulture

Indian king vulture is one of the most common large bird of prey in India, like other vulture it is a a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals. From the past few years, the Indian vulture are vanishing from the Indian skies and flying towards extinction.


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