CAPTIVE BREEDING SUCCESSES.
THE NATIONAL BIRDS OF PREY CENTRE.
1967 to 2000.
The National Birds of Prey Centre started life as The Falconry Centre, first opening to the public in 1967, only six months after arriving in Gloucestershire with 12 birds.

Although falconry was one of the original primary interests, over the years the interests and aims have shifted and the conservation of birds of prey, both wild stocks and captive populations, has taken the foremost position, although the Centre’s falconry origins can and never should be forgotten. Indeed, it is interesting to note that in almost all the captive breeding and release projects the world over, with few exceptions, by far the most successful and sustained are those started and/or run by, or advised by those with falconry backgrounds. The insight gained in handling, training and flying many of the species of raptors and owls is often far greater than that which could ever be learned from observation of either wild or captive birds. This insight makes the breeding of the birds in captivity an easier task, as the species, and the individual birds become known far more intimately.

The National Birds of Prey Centre has for some time been extraordinarily successful in the captive breeding field and is the world leader in the number of species bred in a single establishment – 60 in 34 years to date. The expertise of the staff at the Centre is frequently called upon by other collections and Breeding programs for advice and help.

The following is a list of species bred at the Centre over the years.

Those species with a star (*) are those that have laid, but not yet produced fertile eggs. Some birds we have ceased to breed from, such as the European Sparrowhawk and the Barn Owl as there is no justification in continuing to breed them at the moment. However we now have the knowledge and should it ever be needed, the experience is there as a safety net.

New world vultures
Turkey vulture Cathartes aura
American Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Kites.
Red Kite Milvus milvus
Yellow-billed Kite Milvus migrans parasitus
Sea Eagles
White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster*
African Fish Eagle Haliaeetus vocifer
White-tailed Sea Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla*
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Vultures
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus
Ruppells Vulture Gyps rueppellii*
Gymnogene
African Harrier Hawk Polyboriodes typus
Hawks
Lizard Buzzard Kaupifalco monogrammicus*
Gabar Goshawk Micronisus gabar
Accipiters
Goshawk Accipiter gentilis
European Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
Black Sparrowhawk Accipiter melanoleucus
Sub butonines
Harris Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus
Butoes
Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
Red-tailed Buzzard Buteo jamaicensis
Ferruginous Buzzard Buteo regalis
Red-shouldered Buzzard Buteo lineatus
Aquilas
Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax
Golden Eagle Aquila chysaetos
Verreaux Eagle Aquila verreauxii
African Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus fasciatus spilogaster*
Blyth’s Hawk Eagle Spizaetus alboniger
Martial Eagle Polemaetus bellicosus*
Secretary Bird
Secretary Bird Sagittarius serpentarius
Caracaras.
Common Caracara Polyborus plancus
Striated Caracara Phalcoboenus australis
Pygmy Falcons.
African Pygmy Falcon Polihierax semitorquatus
Falcons.
Kestrel Falco tinnuculus
American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni*
Greater Kestrel Falco rupicoloides*
Mauritius Kestrel Falco punctatus
Merlin Falco columbarius
Red-headed Merlin Falco chicquera*
Aplomado Falcon Falcon femoralis
Peregrine Falco peregrinus p.
Peregrine Falco peregrinus minor
Saker Falco cherrug
Prairie Falcon Falco mexicanus
Lugger Falcon Falco jugger
Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus
Peregrine x Barbary Falcon
Peregrine x Lanner
Peregrine x Saker
Owls.
Barn Owl Tyto alba
Tawny Owl Strix aluco
Great Gray Owl Strix nebulosa
Asian Brown Wood Owl Strix leptogrammica
Rufous-thighed Owl Strix
Little Owl Athene noctua
Snowy Owl Nyctea scandiaca
Spectacled Owl Pulsatrix perspicillata
European Eagle Owl Bubo bubo
Bengal Eagle Owl Bubo bengalensis
Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
MacKinder’s Eagle Owl Bubo capensis
African Spotted Eagle Owl Bubo africanus
Savigny’s Eagle Owl Bubo ascalaphus
Abyssinian Eagle Owl Bubo cinerascens
Iranian Eagle Owl Bubo nikolskii
White-faced Scops Owl Otus leucotis
European Scops Owl Otus scops
Tropical Screech Owl Otus choliba
Collared Scops Owl Otus lempiji
Boobook Owl Ninox novaeseelandiae
Burrowing Owl Speotyto cunicularia
Striped Owl Rhinoptynx clamator
Hawk Owl Surnia ulula

Most of these are produced from just one pair. We consider that our brief at the National Birds of Prey Centre has never been to produce large quantities of young from a small number of species, as in a specific captive and release programme, but rather to produce small quantities, consistently, from many species. Sustained captive breeding and with particular emphasis on producing F2 and 3 birds is important to us. Thereby we gain tremendous amount of knowledge whilst sharing an interesting collection with the visiting public, who not only enjoy it, but at the same time learn a great deal. However we do feel that a one off breeding has little value and can often be put down to luck rather than judgement and hard work, so we try to breed from the birds on a regular basis until we hope we have gained a fair degree of knowledge of the species involved. We are able to share that knowledge with groups who are starting specific captive and release programmes and are involved with two that are producing Egyptian Vultures for release to the wild over a long period.

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