Prior to the last decade, biological studies of raptorial birds in Latin America were almost nonexistent. For many species little more was known than their general range and habitat type. The last few years have seen the opening of a door to what will surely be a flood of scientific investigations. Ultimately, the survival of raptor communities in Latin America depends not only on research but also on several other equally significant conservation efforts. These typically appear in the following order: first, appropriate legislation must be enacted and enforced to provide legal protection; second, the public must be educated concerning the value of wildlife; third, substantial blocks of favourable habitat must be identified and preserved; fourth, economic incentives must be generated so that the local human populations actually benefit from the preservation of vulnerable wildlife and natural habitats; and finally, the long-term success of all of these efforts in each nation depends on the attainment of political, economic and social stability.