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
Synonyms

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 native to Australia and New Guinea.

A number of plumage morphs exists, with the primary distinction being between the pale morph and the dark morph. Both morphs usually have dark brown upper parts and wing coverts. Dark morph birds have predominantly dark under parts, although some light streaking is common. Pale morph birds have white under parts that are varyingly streaked with brown, sometimes heavily so. Pale individuals may also have prominently white under tail coverts and these may be diagnostic.

The species name berigora has Aboriginal origins.

Description[edit]

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.

Subspecies[edit]

  • F. b. novaeguineae : central and eastern New Guinea and coastal northern Australia[2]
  • F. b. berigora : Australia (except coastal north) and Tasmania

Diet[edit]

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.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Birds of The World by Colin Harrison and Alan Greensmith
  • Complete Book of Australian Birds Readers Digest

Gallery[edit]

Wild bird attending prey, Pikedale, S. Queensland