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Ciameth's Raptor Foot Ref by Ciameth Ciameth's Raptor Foot Ref by Ciameth
This massive raptor foot reference took forever to put together, but it's done now! Featuring accipitriformes, falconiformes and strigiformes, the first part is text and illustration; the second part is a compilation of my own photographs for you to use as reference. Check out the "reference" folder in my gallery for more raptor stuff.

Key to the photos:
Row 1, pictures 1-4: Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). This deceased individual was struck by a car; one of the talon sheaths was ripped off in the accident.
Row 2, pictures 1&2: same RTHA. Row 2, picture 3: adult RTHA.
Row 3, pictures 1-3: different adult RTHAs. Picture 4: young RTHA.
Row 4, picture 1: adult RTHA. Pictures 2-4: adult Swainson's Hawks (Buteo swainsoni).
Row 5, pictures 2&3: adult Harris Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus). Picture 4: Taxidermy Osprey (Pandion haliaetus).
Row 6, pictures 1&2: adult Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). Picture 3: taxidermy GOEA.
Row 7, picture 1: adult Golden Eagle. Pictures 2&3: Taxidermy Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus).
Row 8, picture 1: taxidermy Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis). Picture 2: adult FEHA. Picture 3: taxidermy Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus). Picture 4: baby Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus).
Row 9, picture 1: baby RSHA. Pictures 2&3: taxidermy White-Tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus). Pictures 4&6: adult American Kestrel, killed by pesticide poisoning (Falco sparverius).
Row 10, pictures 1-4: same AMKE. Pictures 5&6: adult Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus).
Row 11, picture 1: adult AMKE. Picture 2: taxidermy Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus). Picture 3: adult California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus). Pictures 4: adult Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura).
Row 12, pictures 1-3: adult TUVU.
Rows 13: adult Barn Owl (Tyto alba), killed by collision with car. Check out a close-up of their pectinate talon, which is thought to be used in preening: [link]
Row 14, pictures 1-3: same Barn Owl. Picture 4: adult Barn Owl.
Row 15, picture 1: adult Barn Owl. Pictures 2&3: adult Northern Saw-Whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus). Picture 4: adult Barred Owl (Strix varia).
Rows 16&17: adult Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus).
Row 18, picture 1: same GHOW. Pictures 2&3: Crowned Eagle, taken through fencing (Stephanoaetus coronatus). Picture 4: Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus).
Add a Comment:
 
:iconthunderhawk547:
ThunderHawk547 Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2015
SO HELPFUL :D
Thanks, needed help for drawing my griffons feet ^-^
Reply
:iconprocyonnoumer:
ProcyonNoumer Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2015
really love the look of the scales and the scutes on those feet!
Reply
:icondontknowwhattodraw94:
Dontknowwhattodraw94 Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I knew the harpy eagle was the biggest eagle but the comparison with the golden eagle really shows how big it is :o (Eek) 
You should've put a drawing of the Haast's eagle with them too, I'd really love to see how big that badass was :D

Really nice drawings btw, this comes in really handy when I draw a bird of prey :)
Reply
:iconwynterhawke07:
Wynterhawke07 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Hmmm? I just noticed that on a lot of the bird feet the second toe is somewhat bigger than the others.
Reply
:iconciameth:
Ciameth Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
The second toe is the main toe used to hold prey while the bird is perched and eating.  The picture of the Harris Hawk feet holding the eviscerated chick is a good example.
Reply
:iconwynterhawke07:
Wynterhawke07 Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Kinda like how evidence supports said toe was used in Dromaeosauridae and Troodontidae...
Reply
:iconfuyu-oleander:
fuyu-oleander Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is amazing! Thank you so much for making and sharing it with everyone!
Reply
:iconixamxdeathxbee:
IXAmXDeathXBee Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013
Once again, thanks for the references ><
Reply
:iconreka-the-borzoi:
Reka-the-Borzoi Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013
those talons....it would hurt like hell to be attacked by those birds
Reply
:iconaileen:
aileen Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012
Incredibly useful reference, particularly the photos with the feet on flat ground. Thank you!
Reply
:iconeternityvampyr:
EternityVampyr Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is one thorough and in-depth ref! Feet and claws are a weakness for me, so finding this will help me loads :D All those birdy feet look like they were fun to draw!

Thank you for taking the time putting together such brilliant info! :love:
Reply
:iconthegreattitanicchick:
THEGREATTITANICCHICK Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2012
Thank you for putting this up, i was trying to find a good ref pic of a turkey vulture's foot. ^^
Reply
:iconsporelett:
Sporelett Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Dem claws.... that's more than a little bit terrifying. 8D;;;;
Reply
:iconaiko-shiri:
Aiko-Shiri Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Aweh :c can't download?, I could rly use this when I'm without internet on my ipad, it's my only digital art source.
Reply
:iconciameth:
Ciameth Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Fixed!
Reply
:iconaiko-shiri:
Aiko-Shiri Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
ty! :D
Reply
:iconsudokko:
Sudokko Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2011  Student Digital Artist
Thank you, thank you, thank you!! You are a blessing to all bird-drawers. ;A; I wish I had more elegant words to describe how grateful I am!

<3
Reply
:iconcircuitdruid:
CircuitDruid Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2011
more brilliant reference stuff. I have no excuse for botching my feet after looking at this . Thanks!
Reply
:iconpandion-phoenix:
Pandion-phoenix Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Very, very helpful! Thank you so much! :la:
Reply
:icongottwistedknickers:
GotTwistedKnickers Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2011
I love this so much. and it is so detailed *_*
Reply
:icondutchorca:
DutchOrca Featured By Owner May 29, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That's a lot of work! :clap:

This is very useful, thank you!
Reply
:iconsherlockianhamps:
SherlockianHamps Featured By Owner May 2, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is so helpful it's not even funny, I have so much trouble with bird feet, thank you so much!
Something similar with smaller birds could be cool (not a nudge at you just a thought) I'd love do something like that myself, but I've only go access to one small percing bird and she has one duff foot and sulks when she's manhandled so that's not gonna happen ^^;
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:iconciameth:
Ciameth Featured By Owner May 2, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm glad it was helpful! I don't currently work with any smaller birds (will be starting a hummingbird banding position soon), but if I ever do get the chance, I will definitely make a ref for perching birds or other orders.
Reply
:iconeagleflyte:
EagleFlyte Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I can has sharp pointy objectz?? Awesome, epic pics!!!
Reply
:iconterceleto:
terceleto Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
This is quite thorough! Thank you for taking the time to gather the photographs into a useful collection!
Reply
:iconaydengryphongirl:
Aydengryphongirl Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2011  Student Filmographer
these are so dang useful, thank you
Reply
:iconweegee06:
weegee06 Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow! Amazing reference! How wonderful you've put this together!
Reply
:iconaetherfang:
aetherfang Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2011  Professional Writer
Wow. That's pretty awesome that you put this together. Thanks!
Reply
:iconelementaljess:
ElementalJess Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ohmygoodness, as always Thank you!! What a lot of work.
Reply
:iconyue-neko:
Yue-neko Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2011
Wow these are amazing!!!
Reply
:iconsoldiertoger:
SoldierToger Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2010  Hobbyist
Now this is is just awesome, haha! Love it.
Reply
:iconbabbletrish:
babbletrish Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Fantastic!
Reply
:iconfurrtwo:
Furrtwo Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
Very pretty, I have trouble doing the talons so this is helpful!

Just a question, how does a red-tailed hawk get hit by a car? If little birds don't, I can't see how a bird of prey would.
Reply
:iconciameth:
Ciameth Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
It isn't uncommon for raptors to be struck by a moving object; in fact, an average of 12% of the 200+ raptors our rehabilitation center receives every year have been hit by cars. A few of these raptors also test positively for poisoning (typically pesticides) and can have weakened reaction time or permanent neurological damage, but the birds' own hunting style can work against them. The area is very agricultural and has one of the highest densities of raptors in the continent due to all of the insects, rodents, rabbits, and little birds agriculture supports. Many of the freeways/highways are raised on levees above the agricultural fields. Hawks, harriers and falcons sometimes spot prey, and instead of diving directly at it, use the lower slope of a hill (or roadside levee in this case; cows, amusingly, are used too) to remain hidden as they skim close to the ground, popping up over the side to surprise the unsuspecting prey they located earlier at the last minute. Keyed into the hunt, they occasionally pop up just as a car is coming. Many of these birds are extremely agile, but even they can't "brake" to avoid a rushing car, especially considering the speed at which raptors themselves can travel. Another big collision-killer in the area are the windfarms, which kill an average of 4,700 raptors a year: [link] Also, little birds get hit by cars too; on a few sad occasions I've seen dead passerines pasted to the grills of parked cars.
Reply
:iconciameth:
Ciameth Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
*by windfarms killing an average of 4,700 raptors a year, I meant that single windfarm, not windfarms nationwide.
Reply
:iconsherlockianhamps:
SherlockianHamps Featured By Owner May 2, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Holy Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I knew the toll was high but 4,700 raptors a year for that one farm?
What sort of farm are we talking about, size wise, any idea on the number of turbines?
Though I am equally impressed by the number of raptors alone, if 4700 are being killed by them, even if that is a large percentage of the area's population, there must be quite a number of raptors in the area, unless of course the farm spreds just that far and the number is actaully not as stunning as first impressions make it, living in such a narrow band on land the windfarms in my area are really quite small.
Reply
:iconciameth:
Ciameth Featured By Owner May 2, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
That particular windfarm happens to be located not only in one of the most concentrated populations of raptors in the US, but in a major migratory bird flyway. I believe the only species population seriously affected are the Golden Eagles, because they're not as numerous as other raptors in the area, and are more vulnerable to striking the blades (due to size & hunting style). It's sad, of course, that thousands of Red-tails are also getting chopped up and something should be done to prevent it, but the windfarm is not a major toll on the red tail population. In the last few years, that windfarm has done a lot to reduce casualties. They've turned off the windmills (but left them standing) on the edges of the stand, which seems to reduce lethal collisions. Painting the blades with bold black stripes has also helped.
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:icondark-dragon-kyra:
Dark-Dragon-Kyra Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010
Wonderful, so wonderful. <3 Thank you very much for these references!
Reply
:iconsagekorppi:
SageKorppi Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
YAY LAMMERGEIER FEETS ...ahem. This is just too cool and a FANTASTIC resource! Thanks for doing it and sharing :D
Reply
:iconciameth:
Ciameth Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
How could I resist lammergeier feets? :D They're some of my favorite vultures! I wish I had higher quality photos of their feet so I could have included them in the lower half of the ref, but I do have the Andean Condor and they're remarkably similar. I love how raptor foot morphology is so keyed in to life history; the egyptian vulture, which is sister-species to gypaetus, has more California Condor-like feet. I haven't been able to find as much scientific literature as I'd like to read on raptor foot morphology, especially on the scales, so I wonder why the lammergeier and andean condor have such round, pebbly scales when their close relatives do not. Both spend a lot of time perching on rock surfaces compared to gymnogyps and neophron... Do you have any idea?
Reply
:iconsagekorppi:
SageKorppi Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
You know, I'm not sure! But it sounds like fun to research and I'll ask around at the Lab of Ornithology :D

There's not as much research on foot morphology as I'd like too. I also find it fascinating that a lot of raptor feet have a HUGE inner claw and smaller outer claws. I know it's like for gripping a meal while perching, but still, I'd love to see work on the metrics for it and phylogenetic relationships. Makes me wonder about our assumptions on the inner claws of ancient "raptors".

I suspect there is something to your rock perching idea on the lamemrgeiers and andean condor feet though!
Reply
:icondawnsentinel:
DawnSentinel Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010
I :heart: you! :XD:
Reply
:iconscara161:
Scara161 Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Wicked claws on some of these guys. Awesome, very helpful.
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:iconrainegryphon:
RaineGryphon Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
You are amazing for putting up all these references! I'm a bird fanatic, so I'm always trying to draw them (mostly in gryphon form XD), but the feet are troublesome. This will be soooo helpful. Thank you thank you!
Reply
:iconmidgarzolom:
MidgarZolom Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Holy cow!!! Are you serious??? This is amazing! I'm a little scared now lol. Very cool stuff though.
Reply
:iconciameth:
Ciameth Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) the impressive Haast's Eagle, speculatively large enough to prey on people, went extinct sometime in the 1400's (cool video, short): [link]
Reply
:iconkiarasart:
KIARAsART Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010  Professional General Artist
the photo from the prey perspective up to the claws gives me shivers! I bet you die quick when grabbed with these when a mouse!
Reply
:iconlyosha:
lyosha Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is great! Excellent work! -- Howerver, Northern Saw-whets do not lack feathers on their toes. Even the photograph you show of the saw-whet's feet has feathers on it. (large image here: [link])
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:iconciameth:
Ciameth Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
:blush: you're right; clearly I wasn't paying enough attention to her feet. There are a few minor spelling errors I failed to catch too; this is a good time to go back and fix all of that stuff together.
Reply
:iconlyosha:
lyosha Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Could also mention the pectinate talon on the barn owl! It's so cool. XD
Reply
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