Birds of the Bible – Birds of Prey from the Mountains

Mountain Caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus) ©WikiC

Mountain Caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus) ©WikiC

Last week the Birds of the Bible article was an introduction to the Birds of Prey. This week, the Birds of Prey from the mountains will be covered. So begins a challenge of finding birds that are not listed that way in most books or the internet.

First, let’s look at the verse in the Bible that refers to the “birds of prey of the mountains” and how the various translations translate the verse.

They shall all of them be left to the birds of prey of the mountains and to the beasts of the earth. And the birds of prey will summer on them, and all the beasts of the earth will winter on them. (Isaiah 18:6 ESV)

Mountain Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium gnoma) ©WikiC

Mountain Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium gnoma) ©WikiC

ravenous birds of the mountains – ASV, RV,JPS
birds of the mountains -BBE, MKJV
fowls of the mountains – KJV, Webster
mountain buzzards – CEV
mountain birds of prey – Darby, NAS77, NASB, NKJV
birds of prey of(on) the mountains – ESV, GW
ravenous fowl of the mountains – YLT
birds – GNB,

Other than the GNB (Good News ), they all mention that the birds are from the mountains.

The birds of prey from the mountains are coming to a feast of dead bodies that is going to last through the summer and the winter or for approximately a year. It appears that there was to be a judgment and the corpses left for the birds.

For before the harvest, when the blossom is over, and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he cuts off the shoots with pruning hooks, and the spreading branches he lops off and clears away. (Isaiah 18:5 ESV)

Mountain Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus nipalensis) by Peter Ericsson

Mountain Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus nipalensis) by Peter Ericsson

John Gill’s Exposition – “he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches; as the vinedresser; or rather as one that has no good will to the vine, cuts it with pruning hooks, not to make it better, but worse, and cuts off, not the dead withered and useless parts of it, but the sprigs that have buds and flowers, or unripe grapes, upon them, and even whole branches that have clusters on them, and takes them and casts them away, to be trodden under foot, or cast into the fire; so the Lord, or the king of Assyria, the instrument in the hand of God, should cut off the Ethiopians, or the Egyptians, with the sword, both small and great, when their enterprise should fail, and their promised success: or this is to be understood of the destruction of Sennacherib’s army by the angel, when he was full of expectation of taking Jerusalem, and plundering that rich city. Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it of the destruction of the armies of Gog and Magog. The Targum is, and he shall kill the princes of the people with the sword, and their mighty ones he shall remove and cause to pass over.”

Mountain Buzzard (Buteo oreophilus)©WikiC

Mountain Buzzard (Buteo oreophilus)©WikiC

K & D – “The words of Jehovah concerning Himself have here passed imperceptibly into words of the prophet concerning Jehovah. The ripening grapes, as Isaiah 18:6 now explains, are the Assyrians, who were not far from the summit of their power; the fruit-branches that are cut off and nipped in pieces are their corpses, which are now through both summer and winter the food of swarms of summer birds, as well as of beasts of prey that remain the whole winter through. This is the act of divine judgment, to which the approaching exaltation of the banner, and the approaching blast of trumpets, is to call the attention of the people of Ethiopia.”

Now the birds are brought to this judgmental feast, but what are mountain birds of prey? I tried to find Eagles, Hawks, Owls, Vultures, or whatever birds I could that live in the mountains or at high elevations. Here are a few that I found with “mountain” in their name:

From the Accipitriformes OrderAccipitridae Family:

Mountain Serpent Eagle (Spilornis kinabaluensis) Found in northern Borneo, Sabah, Sarawak and Kalimantan. It inhabits submontane and montane evergreen rainforests. It prefers forests with height of 1,000-2,900 meters (3,220- 9514 feet) above sea level.
Mountain Buzzard (Buteo oreophilus) – Lives in montane forests in East Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and extreme eastern DR Congo) and forests and plantations in South Africa. The latter population is sometimes considered a separate species, the Forest Buzzard (B. trizonatus).
Mountain Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus nipalensis) It is a bird of mountain woodland, which builds a stick nest in a tree and lays usually a single egg. It breeds in southern Asia from Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka to China, Taiwan and Japan.

From the Falconiformes OrderFalconidae Family:
Mountain Caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus) a species of bird of prey in the Falconidae family. It is found in puna and páramo in the Andes, ranging from southern Ecuador, through Peru and Bolivia, to northern Argentina and Chile. It is generally uncommon to fairly common. A highly opportunistic bird commonly seen walking on the ground, it will feed on both carrion and virtually any small animal it can catch. It resembles the closely related Carunculated Caracara and White-throated Caracara, but unlike those species its chest is uniform black. Juveniles are far less distinctive than the red-faced pied adults, being overall brown with dull pinkish-grey facial skin.

From the Strigiformes OrderStrigidae Family:
Mountain Scops Owl (Otus spilocephalus) sometimes referred to as the spotted scops owl. It is locally common in its main habitat which covers some parts of Asia, mostly Bhutan and Taiwan. It has a short high-pitched call similar to the sound a radar makes.
Mountain Pygmy Owl/Northern Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium gnoma) Their breeding habitat includes open to semi-open woodlands of foothills and mountains in western North America. In Oregon and Washington they are known to nest and forage in the center of dense, continuous forests, near streams.[2] An example of their habitat is Forest Park in Portland, Oregon. Males will regularly perch at the top of the tallest available conifer trees to issue their territorial call…

There are many more numerous Birds of Prey which live in the mountains and high forests, but time prevents finding and listing them all. The birds presented here are just to whet your appetite to find more of them and to further study the passage of Scripture. There are also many interpretations of Isaiah 18:6.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)


Information about the birds from Wikipedia


One thought on “Birds of the Bible – Birds of Prey from the Mountains

  1. I know it was considered a judgment for your corpse to be left for the birds of prey, but in this day of high-priced funerals, it sure was cheaper! :-D What does the departed care, anyway? If they know Jesus, they’re already in their new mansion!


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