confirm northern harrier
Posted 23 April 2012 - 10:31 PM
We all know the resemblance the Harrier shows to some owls (actually maybe only SEO?), at least facially. But is there any connection between the two species or families (accipiters and owls)? I ask this not only based on appearance..
If you notice, many, many, many photos of Harriers are similar to this one. All looking down, almost further than 180 degrees in relation to its back. I see tons of photos illustrating this, and have seen it in person as well. As you probably know, owls cannot move their eyes per se, and must therefore turn their head and neck in whichever direction they want to see. Could we see the same thing going on here with Harriers, or is this just some huge coincidence?
Hope this is written coherently enough for you guys to know what I mean. Thanks in advance for the answer.
Posted 23 April 2012 - 11:38 PM
I have noticed that with birds there are often "linking" species or familes between two families, such as Owlet-nightjars and Frogmouths between Owls and Nightjars. It could be that Harriers are a linking genus, though I sort of doubt it based on taxanomical placement.
Posted 24 April 2012 - 12:37 AM
To my knowledge, this means that the facial ruff trait must have arisen independently in both lineages (ie. convergent evolution between Harriers and Owls) or been partially lost in early Falconiformes species like the Osprey and then regained later. I don't have any specific knowledge on the subject though. Hope this helps.
Posted 24 April 2012 - 12:43 AM
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Posted 24 April 2012 - 12:46 AM
Posted 24 April 2012 - 12:55 AM
Posted 24 April 2012 - 02:39 AM
I guess I just find it striking that they are often compared to owls based on appearance, and additionally that it seems whenever they are looking at/for its prey, its owl-like vision is evident as well. Probably just an observation and nothing more.
A fact I learned over the weekend though, which co-insides with this topic, is that since owls have this one-way sort of vision and looking at things, that explains why they get hit by cars so often (unfortunately). It's weird to think of not having peripheral vision, but they don't.
Thanks again everyone.
Posted 24 April 2012 - 03:19 AM
Posted 24 April 2012 - 03:53 AM
I think you might be right Matt. Predatory birds have their eyes more to the front to give them binocular vision to aid in depth perception, but they sacrifice range of view. Ground and seed feeders tend to have eyes on the side so they have a bigger range of view for seeing predators. The extreme is woodcock, which reportedly have 360 degrees of vision both laterally and vertically (that would be wild). Watch a robin next time you see it feeding on the lawn. When they notice motion, they cock their head to one side to view the worm full on with one eye before sweeping in for the grab.
Posted 24 April 2012 - 09:54 PM
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