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Word of the Week: Avivore
July 17, 2020 by Maya Adachi-Amitay

Welcome to Word of the Week! Stay tuned for a new word each Friday to amp up your nature vocabulary!

Cooper's hawk

Word of the week is Avivore [ah-vee-vohr] (noun): an animal whose diet consists primarily of birds. This specialized diet is found in birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and even arachnids!

Many birds of prey fall into this category, including hawks and falcons. Most avivorous birds have strong legs and talons to help them snatch birds mid-air, and a sharp beak to tear the meat from their prey. Avivorous birds use different methods to capture their prey, including ambushing or diving in from overhead.

A well-known example in Toronto is the Cooper’s hawk. Known for their bold hunting behaviour, these birds mostly feed on small and medium sized birds such as sparrows and finches, but can adjust their diet based on food availability. They have been found to eat smaller mammals and reptiles, and in urban areas, larger birds such as doves and pigeons.

These birds can be spotted in High Park, so keep an eye out for them on your next visit – they may be circling the sky or perched in a tree!

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