Our Beautiful World

Falcons, Peregrines, Falco

© Lasse Olsson

A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe,
Asia, and North America.

Adult falcons have thin tapered wings, which enable them to fly at high speed and to change direction rapidly. Fledgling falcons,
in their first year of flying, have longer flight feathers which makes their configuration more like that of a general-purpose bird
such as a broadwing. This makes it easier to fly while learning the exceptional skills required to be effective hunters as adults.

Peregrine Falcons have been recorded diving at speeds of 200 miles per hour (320 km/h), making them the fastest-moving
creatures on Earth. Other falcons include the Gyrfalcon, Lanner Falcon, and the Merlin. Some small falcons with long narrow
wings are called hobbies, and some which hover while hunting are called kestrels.
See more about the Peregirne Falcons and their subspecdies here:

The falcons are part of the family Falconidae, which also includes the caracaras, Laughing Falcon, forest falcons, Micrastur,
and falconets, Microhierax.

Falcons are roughly divisible into three or four groups. The first contains the kestrels (probably excepting the American Kestrel); usually small and stocky falcons of mainly brown upperside color and sometimes sexually dimorphic; three African species that are generally grey in colour stand apart from the typical members of this group. Kestrels feed chiefly on terrestrial vertebrates and invertebrates of appropriate size, such as rodents, reptiles, or insects.

The second group contains slightly larger (on average) and more elegant species, the hobbies and relatives. These birds are characterized by considerable amounts of dark slate-grey in their plumage; the malar area is nearly always black.
They feed mainly on smaller birds.

Third are the Peregrine Falcon and its relatives: large powerful birds which also have a black malar area
(except some very light color morphs), and often a black cap also.

The hierofalcons are four closely related species of falcon which make up the subgenus Hierofalco:

English Norsk Latin
Fox Kestrel Revefalk Falco alopex
Amur Falcon Amurfalk Falco amurensis
Seychelles Kestrel Seychellfalk Falco araea
Gray Kestrel Skiferfalk Falco ardosiaceus
Brown Falcon Brunfalk Falco berigora
Lanner Falcon Slagfalk Falco biarmicus
Australian Kestrel Australfalk Falco cenchroides
Saker Falcon Tartarfalk Falco cherrug
Red-necked Falcon Rødhodefalk Falco chicquera
Merlin Dvergfalk Falco columbarius
Sooty Falcon Sotfalk Falco concolor
African Hobby Termittfalk Falco cuvierii
Orange-breasted Falcon Langtåfalk Falco deiroleucus
Dickinson's Kestrel Hvitgumpfalk Falco dickinsoni
Eleonora's Falcon Eleonorafalk Falco eleonorae
Taita Falcon Svalefalk Falco fasciinucha
Aplomado Falcon Aplomadofalk Falco femoralis
Gray Falcon Sølvfalk Falco hypoleucos
Laggar Falcon Rajafalk Falco jugger
Australian Hobby Eukalyptusfalk Falco longipennis
Prairie Falcon Præriefalk Falco mexicanus
Spotted Kestrel Indonesiafalk Falco moluccensis
Lesser Kestrel Rødfalk Falco naumanni
Madagascar Kestrel Madagaskarfalk Falco newtoni
New Zealand Falcon Maorifalk Falco novaeseelandiae
Barbary Falcon Berberfalk Falco pelegrinoides
Peregrine Falcon Vandrefalk Falco peregrinus
Mauritius Kestrel Mauritiusfalk Falco punctatus
Bat Falcon Flaggermusfalk Falco rufigularis
Greater Kestrel Slettefalk Falco rupicoloides
Gyrfalcon Jaktfalk Falco rusticolus
Oriental Hobby Libellefalk Falco severus
American Kestrel Spurvefalk Falco sparverius
Eurasian Hobby Lerkefalk Falco subbuteo
Black Falcon Svartfalk Falco subniger
Eurasian Kestrel Tårnfalk Falco tinnunculus
Rock Kestrel Falco tinnunculus rupicolus
Red-footed Falcon Aftenfalk Falco vespertinus
Banded Kestrel Gråstripefalk Falco zoniventris
Laughing Falcon Latterfalk Herpetotheres cachinnans
Lizard Buzzard Øglehauk Kaupifalco monogrammicus
Buckley's Forest-Falcon Loretoskogfalk Micrastur buckleyi
Lined Forest-Falcon Hvitøyeskogfalk Micrastur gilvicollis
Cryptic Forest-Falcon Panskogfalk Micrastur mintoni
Slaty-backed Forest-Falcon Gråryggskogfalk Micrastur mirandollei
Plumbeous Forest-Falcon Blyskogfalk Micrastur plumbeus
Barred Forest-Falcon Haukskogfalk Micrastur ruficollis
Collared Forest-Falcon Halsbåndskogfalk Micrastur semitorquatus
Collared Falconet Halsbåndfalkonett Microhierax caerulescens
Philippine Falconet Filippinerfalkonett Microhierax erythrogenys
Black-thighed Falconet Svartflankefalkonett Microhierax fringillarius
White-fronted Falconet Hvitpannefalkonett Microhierax latifrons
Pied Falconet Sløyfefalkonett Microhierax melanoleucos
White-rumped Falcon Orientpygméfalk Polihierax insignis
Pygmy Falcon Afrikapygméfalk Polihierax semitorquatus
Spot-winged Falconet Parakittfalk Spiziapteryx circumcincta


Forest falcons are members of the genus Micrastur, part of the family Falconidae. They are endemic to the Americas,
found from Mexico in the north, south through Central America and large parts of South America, and as far south as northern Argentina. Most are restricted to humid tropical and subtropical forests; but the two most widespread species, the Collared
and the Barred Forest Falcons, also range into drier and more open habitats.

Forest falcons, like most Accipiter-type hawks (but unlike other falcons), are adapted for agility in thick cover rather than outright
speed in the open air. They have short wings, long tails, and extraordinarily acute hearing. While generally visually inconspicuous,
their songs are commonly heard.

Diet is a mixture of birds, mammals and reptiles. Hunting is often performed in Goshawk fashion: the bird takes up a perch in an
inconspicuous position and waits for a prey species to pass, then strikes with a short, rapid pursuit. Forest-falcons are inventive,
flexible hunters, and at least some species (such as the relatively long-legged Collared Forest Falcon) are also capable of
catching terrestrial prey on foot.

In 2002, a new species was described, found in the Atlantic forest and the southeastern Amazon of Brazil, and later also adjacent parts of Bolivia. It has been named Micrastur mintoni, the Cryptic Forest Falcon, as it is phenotypically highly similar to
Micrastur gilvicollis.

The name kestrel, (from French crécerelle, derivative from crécelle i.e. Ratchet) is given to several different members of the
falcon genus, Falco. Kestrels are most easily distinguished by their typical hunting behaviour which is to hover at a height
of around 10–20 metres (33–66 ft) over open country and swoop down on prey, usually small mammals, lizards or large insects. Other falcons are more adapted to active hunting on the wing.
In addition, kestrels are notable for usually having much brown in their plumage.

Kestrels require a slight headwind in order to hover, hence a local name of Windhover for Common Kestrel.

Plumage often—but unusually for falcons—differs between male and female, and (as is usual with monogamous raptors) the
female is slightly larger than the male. This allows a pair to fill different feeding niches over their home range.
Kestrels are bold and have adapted well to human encroachment, nesting in buildings and hunting by major roads.
Kestrels do not build their own nests, but use nests built by other species.

A hobby is a fairly small, very swift falcon with long, narrow wings. There are four birds called hobby, and some others which,
although termed falcon, are very similar. All specialise in being superb aerialists. Although they will take prey on the ground if
the opportunity presents itself, most prey is caught on the wing: insects by hawking, birds are flown down: even swifts and
swallows often cannot outpace or outmanoeuver a hobby.

The "typical" hobbies are traditionally considered a subgenus Hypotriorchis due to their similar morphology: they have ample
amounts of dark slaty grey in their plumage; the malar area is black and the underside usually has lengthwise black streaks.
The tails are all-dark or have only slight bands

Lanner Falcon, Falco biarmicus
Laggar Falcon, Falco jugger
Saker Falcon, Falco cherrug
Gyrfalcon, Falco rusticolus

The Black Falcon of Australia is occasionally considered allied to the hierofalcons: indeed it seems fairly close to them .

They represent members of their genus which are similar to species like the Peregrine Falcon in outward appearance, but usually
with more phaeomelanins which impart reddish or brown colors, and generally more strongly patterned plumage reminiscent
of hawks. Their undersides usually have a lengthwise pattern of dark blotches, lines or arrowhead marks.
They hunt usually in level flight, more like goshawks than Peregrines with their dive attack or hobbies with their acrobatic pursuits.

450 other birds - click here


over 250


over 500


over 225
Web www.vulkaner.no

This page has been made with Macromedia Dreamweaver