The Fossil History of the Family Accipitridae in Australia
Birds of prey are commonly referred to as raptors, from the Latin raptor, a robber, and
rapere, to seize, which refers to the manner in which they capture their prey (Olsen, 1995).
The Family Accipitridae is usually placed in the Order Falconiformes, although it has been
placed by some in a separate Order, Accipitriformes. The taxonomic position of the Family
Accipitridae itself and the members of the family are the subject of ongoing debate, which
will be discussed further in this thesis.
The fossil record of the Family Accipitridae in Australia has not been studied
comprehensively. Boles (1993) described a new species of hawk from the Riversleigh
deposits. Prior to Boles (1993), de Vis contributed several papers on fossil accipitrids pre-
1900. Since de Vis's time, more fossil material has been collected, but most has remained