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.
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
See more about the Peregirne Falcons and their subspecdies here:
The falcons are part of the family Falconidae
also includes the caracaras, Laughing Falcon, forest
and falconets, Microhierax
Falcons are roughly divisible into three or four groups. The first
contains the kestrels
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
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
|New Zealand Falcon
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
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
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 1020 metres (3366 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 oftenbut unusually for falconsdiffers 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
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
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.
other birds - click here