Falconry Vocabulary Terms


Is your comfort level with free-ranging raptor medicine and surgery growing, but you feel a bit unnerved by falconers and falconry lingo (Fig 1)?

Harris hawk

Figure 1. Harris hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) with leather jesses (arrow) strapped around its legs. Image by Dr. Mike Jones.

Although the definitions for some falconry terms are intuitive, many modern falconry words are French in origin and their meanings may not be immediately obvious. You will feel more comfortable “talking the talk” after you review our falconry vocabulary list below.



Table 1. Falconry vocabulary terms
BATEBating is when a bird tethered by jesses attempts to fly from the fist or perch
CASTCasting or egestion is the production of a pellet consisting of compressed indigestible material
COPE‘Coping’ is the term for trimming raptor beaks and talons.

CREANCEA long, light cord attached to leather straps or ‘jesses’, which are fitted around the bird’s legs. The creance is used to prevent the bird from flying away during training.

(EYASSES plural)
A young raptor that has been removed from parent birds and taken before it is capable of flight. This term usually refers to birds taken before 15 days of age so they will imprint on human handlers.

FALCON or HENFemale raptor

HAGGARDTerm for a raptor caught as an adult—and therefore very difficult to train.

IMPA procedure performed to repair a broken flight feather by splicing it to an undamaged feather.

JESSESLeather straps which are fitted around the raptor’s legs.


A man-made object made to resemble a prey item that is garnished with meat. The lure is swung on a long line to call in the falcon and to exercise the bird.


A raptor spreading its wings to guard its prey.

MEWS‘Mews’ are the falconry equivalent of stables. Mews were originally the place where raptors were housed during the summer molt.

Raptor droppings
PASSAGES or PASSAGE BIRDSFledged, free-flying juvenile birds that are trapped on their first migration (or passage) southward. These birds become tame but do not imprint therefore they may retain some survival skills if lost.

RANGLEThe deliberate feeding of stones to captive hawks or falcons so they can cast up the stones to “cleanse” the stomach, theoretically making the bird hungrier and a better hunter. Some falconers practice this technique up to once monthly during the hunting season, however there is little evidence to show this works and the practice should be avoided (Ford 2008)
STOOPThe head first high-velocity dive used by falcons to take their prey from above.

TIERCELMale raptor



Chitty J. Birds of prey. In: Meredith A, Redrobe S (eds). BSAVA Manual of Exotic Pets, 4th ed. Gloucester:British Small Animal Veterinary Association; 2002.

Collier J. Words from bird: The language of falconry. Wildlife Rehabilitation Today Winter 1996. Pp. 9-11.

Ford S. Raptor medicine master class. Proc Annu Conf Assoc Avian Veterinarians 2008.

To cite this page:

Pollock C. Falconry vocabulary terms. July 3, 2012. LafeberVet Web site. Available at https://lafeber.com/vet/falconry-vocabulary-terms/