Brown falcon

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Brown falcon
Falco berigora -Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia-8.jpg
At Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Falconiformes
Family: Falconidae
Genus: Falco
Species: F. berigora
Binomial name
Falco berigora
Vigors & Horsfield, 1827

Asturaetus furcillatus De Vis, 1906
Plioaetus furcillatus (De Vis, 1906)

A brown falcon used for falconry in Tasmania

The brown falcon (Falco berigora) is a relatively large falcon endemic to Australia.

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[edit]

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


Wild bird attending prey, Pikedale, S. Queensland