Falconry Essentials to Know

  • Breed Name: Falcons
  • Scientific Name: Falco
  • Family: Falconidae
  • Order: Aves
  • Characteristics of Falcons:
    • Falcons are birds of prey in the genus Falco, which includes about 40 species
    • Falcons are widely distributed on all continents of the world except Antarctica
    • Falcons along with Owls, eagles and hawks are all raptors
    • Falcons are swift fliers. They fly at higher altitudes and to prey below, swoop down at a speed of 200 mph
    • They have a very powerful eyesight, which is 6 times stronger than that of humans
    • The gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) is the largest falcon species having mass of 1.4 Kilograms
    • They are solitary birds, and come together only for mating. Some species are migratory
    • Adult falcons have thin, tapered wings that enable them to change directions quickly and effortlessly during flight
  • Feeding & Diet of Falcons:
    • Falcons are carnivores and hunt during the day (they are diurnal)
    • They feed on live birds and small terrestrial vertebrates
    • Falcons, particularly peregrines, live on a diet that mainly consists of smaller birds
    • They hunt pigeons, blackbirds, jays, starlings and waterfowl. Occasionally they will feed on small mammals like ground squirrels, mice, rats and gophers
  • Reproduction & Breeding of Falcons
    • Falcons, generally mate for life and breed in the same territory each year
    • Male courts the female for about one month, using aerial displays
    • They make a nest, or scrape, on ledges and in small caves located high on a cliff
    • Breeding or Mating Season: Late March through May
    • Female lays a clutch of 3-4 creamy eggs in late March or April at 2-3 day intervals
    • Incubation Period: 30 days
    • Both the male and female incubate the eggs
    • The chicks start to fly in about 42 days
    • A falcon chick is known as an eyas (sometimes spelled eyass)
  • Grouping of Falcons: True falcons are further classified under three (3) groups:
    • Falcons: Falcons are the largest and most powerful birds, that belong to the genus Falco, and include bird species like the Peregrine falcon and the Gyrfalcon. The hierofalcons (hawk falcons) comprise a group of four species that are closely related, namely, the Gyrfalcon, Laggar falcon, Lanner falcon, and Saker falcon
    • Kestrels: Kestrels are the smallest birds in the falcon family, and feed on small terrestrial vertebrates and invertebrates, such as rodents and reptiles
    • Hobbies: The hobbies are slightly larger than the kestrels but smaller than the falcons. This group has four species of birds
  • Lower Classifications of Falcons:
    • African Hobby is a small species of bird of prey in the family Falconidae
    • Amur Falcon is a small raptor and breeds in SE. Siberia and Northern China before migrating in large flocks across India, Pakistan and over the Arabian Sea to winter in Southern Africa. It was earlier treated as a subspecies of the red-footed falcon and known as the eastern red-footed falcon
    • Australian Hobby, aka. little falcon, is one of six Australian members of the family Falconidae
    • Barbary Falcon is a medium-sized falcon about the size of a crow
    • Bat Falcon is a resident breeder of tropical Mexico, Central and South America, and Trinidad
    • Brown Falcon is a large falcon native to Australia and New Guinea
    • Buckley’s Forest Falcon, aka. lesser collared forest falcon or Traylor’s forest falcon is found in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest
    • Common Kestrel European kestrel, Eurasian kestrel, or Old World kestrel. In Britain, where no other kestrel species occurs, it is generally just called “the kestrel”.
    • Dickinson’s Kestrel is a bird of prey of southern and eastern Africa. It is named after John Dickinson, an English physician and missionary who collected the type specimen. It is also known as the white-rumped kestrel
    • Eleonora’s Falcon is a medium-sized falcon which belongs to the hobby group
    • Eurasian Hobby, or just simply hobby, is a small, slim falcon
    • Fox Kestrel is found in arid, open country in Africa
    • Greater Kestrel or white-eyed kestrel is one of the largest kestrels and is found in open country in southern and eastern Africa
    • Grey Kestrel is an African bird having close resemblance with banded kestrel and Dickinson’s kestrel
    • Gyrfalcon is the largest of the falcon species. The abbreviation gyr is also used. It breeds on Arctic coasts and tundra, and the islands of northern North America, Europe, and Asia
    • Laggar Falcon is a mid-sized bird which is found in the Indian subcontinent from extreme southeastern Iran, southeastern Afghanistan, Pakistan, through India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and northwestern Myanmar. It resembles the lanner falcon but is darker overall, and has blackish “trousers”
    • Lesser Kestrel is a small falcon and breeds from the Mediterranean across Afghanistan and Central Asia, to China and Mongolia. It is a summer migrant, wintering in Africa and Pakistan and sometimes even to India and Iraq
    • Lined Forest Falcon is endemic to humid forest in the western and northern Amazon Basin
    • Malagasy Kestrel, aka. Madagascar kestrel, Malagasy spotted kestrel, Newton’s kestrel, Madagascar spotted kestrel, katiti or hitsikitsika, is a small bird and named after British ornithologist Edward Newton. It occurs in two subspecies on Madagascar and at Aldabra
    • Nankeen Kestrel is a raptor native to Australia and New Guinea. It is one of the smallest falcons, and unlike many, does not rely on speed to catch its prey. Instead, it simply perches in an exposed position
    • Oriental Hobby is a species of falcon typically 27–30 cm long. It can be found in the northern parts of the Indian Subcontinent, across the eastern Himalayas and ranges southwards through Indochina to Australasia
    • Peregrine Falcon, aka. Peregrine or duck hawk in North America, is a large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-grey back, barred white underparts, and a black head
    • Philippine Falconet is endemic to the Philippines. It is fairly common on Luzon, Mindanao, Mindoro and Visayas but is absent elsewhere
    • Red-Footed Falcon, aka. western red-footed falcon, is found in eastern Europe and Asia. It is migratory, wintering in Africa
    • Red-Necked Falcon is found in India, Pakistan and Africa. This medium-sized falcon has bluish grey wings and upper body, a chestnut red cap with short chin straps passing through the eye
    • Sooty Falcon is a medium-sized falcon breeding from NE Africa to the southern Persian Gulf region
    • Spotted Kestrel Moluccan kestrel
    • Seychelles Kestrel is a small bird endemic to the Seychelles Islands. It is known in Seychellois Creole as the katiti after its loud, shrill call
    • Taita Falcon is a small falcon found in central and eastern Africa. It was first described from the Taita Hills of Kenya from which it derives its name

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.