|At Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia|
Vigors & Horsfield, 1827
Asturaetus furcillatus De Vis, 1906
A number of plumage morphs exist, with the primary distinction being between the pale morph and the dark morph. Both morphs usually have dark brown upperparts and wing coverts. Dark morph birds have predominantly dark underparts, although some light streaking is common. Pale morph birds have white underparts that are varyingly streaked with brown, sometimes heavily so. Pale individuals may also have prominently white undertail coverts and these may be diagnostic.
The species name berigora has Aboriginal origins.
Adults are usually 40 to 50 cm (16 to 20 in) long. They are found in light and dark forms and a variety of intermediates. Animals typically have red-brown heads with narrow black streaks with a light crown and off-white chin. Wings are a spotted red-brown with dark brown quills. Beaks are light blue/grey; eyes are brown. The falcons make a loud cackle call uttered frequently.
Breeding and habitat
Brown falcons breed from June to November, usually in an old nest of another hawk species; they occasionally nest in hollow limbs of trees. The brown falcon lays between two and five eggs that have red and brown spots and blotches.
Brown falcons are found throughout Australia. Darker forms of the animal are usually found in arid areas. The brown falcon has been spotted in New Guinea.
The brown falcon eats small mammals, including house mice and young rabbits. It also eats small birds, lizards, snakes, and a variety of invertebrates, particularly caterpillars, grasshoppers, crickets, and beetles. Insects form the bulk of the animals' diets during winter and the falcons often chase the insects on the ground.
- Birds of The World by Colin Harrison and Alan Greensmith
- Complete Book of Australian Birds Readers Digest
John Gould illustration
In flight in Victoria, Australia
Video of wild-bird attending prey, Pikedale, S. Queensland
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