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Brown Falcon
Falco berigora

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Stable.

Other Names: Brown Hawk, Cackling Hawk, Orange-speckled Hawk, Striped Brown Hawk, Striped Hawk, Western Hawk, White-breasted Hawk.

Falco berigora
click to enlarge
Distribution: Australasian. AUSTRALIA, including TASMANIA, NEW GUINEA, and BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO (Long Island). more....

Subspecies: 4 races. F. b. berigora: Eastern, central, and northern AUSTRALIA; F. b. novaeguineae: Central and eastern NEW GUINEA and coastal northern AUSTRALIA; F. b. occidentalis: Southwestern and west-central AUSTRALIA; F.b. tasmanica: TASMANIA and nearby islands. more....

Taxonomy: Formerly placed in a separate genus Ieracidea or Hieracidea.

Movements: Partial migrant, with juveniles dispersing from breeding areas (Bildstein 2006). Some move from southern to northern Australia during the winter (dry) season and even to New Guinea, crossing by way of the Torres Strait Islands (Olsen and Olsen 1989). Small flocks also cross the Bass Strait between Tasmania and mainland Australia, sometimes resting on islands and offshore oil rigs en route (Olsen and Olsen op cit.). more....

Habitat and Habits: Prefers most open, unforested habitats in Australia (Debus 1998), and in New Guinea, it occurs in grasslands, cultivated areas, scrub, and savanna (Coates 2001). It is typically seen perched on fenceposts, utility poles, shrubs, or on the tops of dead trees, and it also perches on wires (Olsen 1995, Debus op cit.). Occurs singly, in pairs, or occasionally in loose groups of up to 50, particularly when locusts, other insects and mice occur in huge numbers (Olsen 1995). more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Preys on mammals (rats), birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, carrion, and large insects (Debus 1998, Coates 2001). Forages in a variety of ways, mostly by still-hunting from an exposed perch and capturing prey on the ground, but also by quartering, hovering, soaring, low, fast flights, or by stalking prey through the tree canopies and stealing nestling birds from open nests, or by reaching into tree hollows (Olsen and Olsen 1989). It also pursues insects and snakes on foot and pirates prey from other raptors. It follows grassfires, livestock, and farm machinery to capture flushed prey, and members of a pair sometimes hunt in tandem (Debus 1998). It occasionally takes chickens from farmyards, frequently steals prey cached by other falcons, and will feed on roadkills, or when prey is scarce, carrion rotting in a paddock (Olsen and Olsen op cit.). Loose flocks gather in the vicinity of locust swarms, and the insects are caught and eaten on the wing. more....

Breeding: Breeds solitarily, using the old stick nest of another raptor or corvid, usually placed in a tree, but also on artificial structures or termitara, 4-30 m off the ground (Debus 1998). Clutch size is usually 2 or 3 eggs, the incubation period is about 33 days, and the nestling period is 36-42 days (Debus op cit.). more....

Conservation: Widespread and common throughout its range. Probably the most common and widespread falcon in Australia. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Important References: 
Cade, T.J. 1982. Falcons of the world. Cornell University Press, Ithaca,
Czechura, G.V., and S.J.S. Debus. 1985. The Black Falcon Falco subniger: a
  summary of information and comparison with the Brown Falcon, Falco berigora.
  Australian Bird Watcher 11:185-207.
Debus, S.J.S. 1994. Brown Falcon. Pp. 269-270 in del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott,
  and J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New World
  vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Debus, S. 1998. The birds of prey of Australia: a field guide. Oxford
  University Press, Melbourne.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Marchant, S., and P. Higgins (eds.). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand,
  and Antarctic birds. Vol. 2. Raptors to lapwings. Oxford University Press,
  Melbourne, Australia.
Olsen, P. 1995. Australian birds of prey. John Hopkins University Press,
  Baltimore, MD.
Weatherly, R., D.J. Baker-Gabb, and N.J. Mooney. 1985. Juvenile plumage
  and plumage variation in the Brown Falcon Falco berigora. Emu 85:257-260.

Sites of Interest:
Brown Falcon photos.

Olsen, Penny

Last modified: 6/2/2010

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Brown Falcon Falco berigora. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 30 May. 2020

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