falcons

these are our falcons

Eurasian Kestrel

Falco Tinnunculus

The common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) is a bird of prey species belonging to the kestrel group of the falcon family Falconidae. It is also known as the European kestrel, Eurasian kestrel, or Old World kestrel. In Britain, where no other kestrel species occurs, it is generally just called “the kestrel”.

This species occurs over a large range. It is widespread in Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as occasionally reaching the east coast of North America.

Common kestrels eat almost exclusively mouse-sized mammals. Voles, shrews and true mice supply up to three-quarters or more of the biomass most individuals ingest. On oceanic islands (where mammals are often scarce), small birds (mainly passerines) may make up the bulk of its diet.

American Kestrel

Falco Sparverius

The American kestrel (Falco sparverius) is the smallest and most common falcon in North America.

The American kestrel usually hunts in energy-conserving fashion by perching and scanning the ground for prey to ambush, though it also hunts from the air. It sometimes hovers in the air with rapid wing beats while homing in on prey. Its diet typically consists of grasshoppers and other insects, lizards, mice, and small birds (e.g. sparrows). This broad diet has contributed to its wide success as a species. It nests in cavities in trees, cliffs, buildings, and other structures.

Its breeding range extends from central and western Alaska across northern Canada to Nova Scotia, and south throughout North America, into central Mexico and the Caribbean. It is a local breeder in Central America and is widely distributed throughout South America. Most birds breeding in Canada and the northern United States migrate south in the winter. It is an occasional vagrant to western Europe.

Barbary Falcon

Falco Pelegrinoides

The Barbary falcon (Falco peregrinus pelegrinoides) is a medium-sized falcon about the size of a crow. This bird of prey is mainly resident.

The Barbary falcon is native to Northern and Eastern parts of Africa. It is also common in Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia.

The Barbary falcon is a bird of semi-desert and dry open hills. It typically lays its eggs in cliff-ledge nests.

 

Laggar Falcon

Falco Jugger

The laggar falcon (Falco jugger), also known as the jugger (from Hindi जग्गर — jaggar, “falcon”) is a mid-sized bird of prey which occurs in the Indian subcontinent from extreme southeastern Iran, southeastern Afghanistan, Pakistan, through India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and northwestern Myanmar.

This species belongs to a close-knit complex of falcons known as hierofalcons.

Laggar falcons used to be the most common falcons in the region, but numbers have declined markedly in recent times and today it is probably nowhere a common species anymore. The main threats are the intensification of pesticide use in the region and use as a decoy to trap large falcons.

Lanner Falcon

Falco Biarmicus

The lanner falcon (Falco biarmicus) is a medium-sized bird of prey that breeds in Africa, southeast Europe and just into Asia. It prefers open habitat and is mainly resident, but some birds disperse more widely after the breeding season. A large falcon, it preys on birds and bats.

The lanner falcon is a bird of open country and savanna. It usually hunts by horizontal pursuit, rather than the peregrine falcon’s stoop from a height, and takes mainly bird prey in flight. It lays three to four eggs on a cliff ledge nest, or occasionally in an old stick nest in a tree.

In the wild, lanner falcon numbers are somewhat declining in Europe, though the species remains relatively common in parts of Africa.

Aplomado Falcon

Falco Femoralis

The aplomado falcon (Falco femoralis) is a medium-sized falcon of the Americas. The species’ largest contiguous range is in South America, but not in the deep interior Amazon Basin.

The aplomado falcon’s habitat is dry grasslands, savannahs, marshes, and, in Brazil, is commonly observed in some large cities, such as São Paulo. It ranges from northern Mexico and Trinidad locally to southern South America, but has been extirpated from many places in its range.

It feeds on large invertebrates and small vertebrates, with small birds making up the overwhelming bulk of its prey.

Red-Necked Falcon

Falco Chicquera

The red-necked falcon (Falco chicquera) is a bird of prey in the falcon family with two disjunct populations, one in India and the other in Africa.

In Africa, the red-necked falcon is found in semi-desert, savannah and other dry open country with some trees, but also riverine forest. It often perches and makes use of the crowns of Borassus palms (Borassus aethiopum) for breeding. They are mostly resident but may make nomadic movements in response to weather. In India, they are found in open habitats and is not found in dense forests or high hills.

The red-necked falcon usually hunts in pairs, often at dawn and dusk, sometimes utilizing a technique in which one of the pair flies low and flushes up small birds while the other follows higher up and seizes the prey as it flushes from cover. They fly with a fast and dashing flight.

It prefers to prey on birds found in open areas. In addition mice, lizards, large insects are also taken.

African Pygmy Falcon

Polihierax Semitorquatus

The pygmy falcon, or African pygmy falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus), is a falcon that lives in eastern and southern Africa and is the smallest raptor on the continent. As a small falcon, only 19 to 20 cm long, it preys on insects, small reptiles, and small mammals.

The pygmy falcon inhabits dry bush, and occurs from Angola to northern South Africa. This range is estimated to have an area of 2.7 million km2, and the total population is estimated to be between 100,000 and 1 million birds.

The flight is low and undulating. In size, pattern, and the habit of perching upright on an exposed branch or treetop, this species resembles some shrikes.

The call is “a high-pitched kikiKIK, repeated” (Kenya) or “a ‘chip-chip’ and a ‘kik-kik-kik-kik'” (southern Africa).

White Gyrfalcon

Falco Rusticolus

The gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus), the largest of the falcon species, is a bird of prey. The abbreviation gyr is also used.

It breeds on Arctic coasts and tundra, and the islands of northern North America and the Eurosiberian region. It is mainly a resident there also, but some gyrfalcons disperse more widely after the breeding season, or in winter. Individual vagrancy can take birds for long distances.

Its plumage varies with location, with birds being coloured from all-white to dark brown. These colour variations are called morphs.

For centuries, the gyrfalcon has been valued as a hunting bird. Typical prey includes the ptarmigan and waterfowl, which it may take in flight; it also takes fish and mammals.

Saker Falcon

Falco Cherrug

The saker falcon (Falco cherrug) is a large species of falcon. This species breeds from central Europe eastwards across the Palearctic to Manchuria. It is mainly migratory except in the southernmost parts of its range, wintering in Ethiopia, the Arabian peninsula, northern Pakistan and western China. The Saker falcon is the national bird of Hungary and Mongolia.

The saker falcon is a raptor of open grasslands preferably with some trees or cliffs. It often hunts by horizontal pursuit, rather than the peregrine’s stoop from a height, and feeds mainly on rodents and birds. In Europe, ground squirrels and feral pigeons are the most common prey items.

This species usually builds no nest of own, but lays its 3–6 eggs in an old stick nest in a tree which was previously used by other birds such as storks, ravens or buzzards. It also often nests on cliffs.

Hybrid

3/4 Gyr - Saker Falcon

This hybrid is widely used in Arabia as it produces a larger version of the Arabs native species – the Saker Falcon.

The Gyr Falcon is the largest species of Falcon in the world and originates from around the Arctic circle.

Peregrine Falcon

Falco Peregrines

The peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), also known as the peregrine, and historically as the duck hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae.

The peregrine’s breeding range includes land regions from the Arctic tundra to the tropics. It can be found nearly everywhere on Earth, except extreme polar regions, very high mountains, and most tropical rainforests; the only major ice-free landmass from which it is entirely absent is New Zealand. This makes it the world’s most widespread raptor, and one of the most widely found bird species.

Although its diet consists almost exclusively of medium-sized birds, the peregrine will occasionally hunt small mammals, small reptiles, or even insects.
The peregrine falcon is a well-respected falconry bird due to its strong hunting ability, high trainability, versatility, and availability via captive breeding. It is effective on most game bird species, from small to large.

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