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Red-necked Falcon
Falco chicquera

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Unknown.

Other Names: Red-headed Falcon, Red-headed Merlin, Turumti Falcon.

Falco chicquera
click to enlarge
Distribution: Afrotropical/Indomalayan/Palearctic. Southeastern IRAN east through the northern Indian subcontinent and Africa from SENEGAMBIA east to ETHIOPIA and NAMIBIA and ZIMBABWE south to NAMIBIA and northern SOUTH AFRICA. more....

Subspecies: 3 races. F. c. chicquera: Southeastern IRAN east through PAKISTAN and INDIA to NEPAL and BANGLADESH; F. c. horsbrughi: South of the Zambezi River from ZIMBABWE and MOZAMBIQUE west to BOTSWANA, NAMIBIA, and southern ANGOLA, south to central SOUTH AFRICA (northern Cape Province); F. c. ruficollis: SENEGAMBIA east to ETHIOPIA, ERITREA, and southern SOMALIA, south to ZAMBIA, MALAWI, and northern MOZAMBIQUE (Save River). more....

Taxonomy: Affinities of this species to other Falco species are poorly understood. Some have suggested that it is closely allied to the Merlin, F. columbarius, but Kemp (1994) doubted this. Wink and Sauer-Gürth (2000, 2004) found significant (1.8%) nucleotide divergence in the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene between the Indian subcontinental race, F.c. chicquera), and the southern African race, F.c. horsbrughi. Together with differences in distribution and morphology, it seems preferable to treat these two taxa as separate species, but, as yet, no ranking taxonomic committee has followed this recommendation.

Movements: Partial migrant (Bildstein 2006). Probably sedentary in most regions, but may breed outside of the normal range in response to changes in prey abundance (Malherbe 1963). The southern, arid-country population is likely less sedentary than the more northern population and probably moves in response to rainfall changes, but Penry (1994) found no evidence of movements in Botswana.

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in open habitats with sparse vegetation and scattered trees, including riparian habitats, woodland edges, dry watercourses, and palm savanna. Often associated with a group of palm trees near a waterhole. The race in Namibia and Botswana (horsbrughi), occurs in arid habitats, but the race ruficollis, occurring elsewhere in Africa, is closely associated with more mesic woodland habitats with Borassus palms in moist grasslands and savannas (Mendelsohn 1997, Carswell et al. 2005). Although most authors have stressed its association with palms, this only applies to the latter population (Clancey 1985). more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds mainly on small birds up the size of small dove, capturing them after dashing from an open perch below the canopy of a tree. More rarely feeds on rodents (Guhrs and Osborne 1988), bats, reptiles, and probably termites. There is a regular foraging association between this species and Gabar Goshawks around waterholes in the Kalahari, and it appears that the hunting success of both species is improved by the association (Malan and Jenkins 1994). more....

Breeding: Eggs are laid from July-October in southern Africa (Steyn 1982) and January to mid-April in Uganda (Carswell et al. 2005). The race horsbrughi lays eggs in the old stick nest of crows or other raptor species, usually one that is placed in the crown of an isolated tree. The eggs of ruficollis are placed in the cavity of the crown of a palm tree or at the base of a palm frond. Clutch size is 3-4 eggs, which are roundish oval and deep buffy, densely smeared with fine spots of reddish-brown (Clancey 1985). The female incubates and cares for the young, and the male does the hunting. The incubation period is 33 days, and the nestling period about 36 days (Osborne 1984). more....

Conservation: Occupies a large range on two continents, but somewhat rare and local in many areas. In Africa, artificial watering sites may have benefited this species in arid regions. In some areas (e.g., the Okavango Delta), the destruction of palm trees by elephants has destroyed nesting and roosting habitat. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Important References: 
Brown, L.H., E.K. Urban, and K. Newman. 1982. The birds of Africa. Vol.
  1. Academic Press, London.
Cade, T.J. 1982. Falcons of the world. Cornell University Press, Ithaca,
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Kemp, A.C. 1994. Red-necked Falcon. P. 265 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.
Mendelsohn, J.M. 1997. Rednecked Falcon. Pp. 258-259 in J.A. Harrison et
  al. (eds.), The atlas of South African birds. Volume 1: Non-passerines.
  BirdLife South Africa and Avian Demography Unit, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Naoroji, R. 2006. Birds of prey of the Indian subcontinent. Christopher
  Helm, London.
Steyn, P. 1982. Birds of prey of southern Africa: their identification and
  life histories. David Phillip, Cape Town, South Africa.

Sites of Interest:
Red-necked Falcon photos.

Deacon, Neil
Deshmukh, Ajit
Naoroji, Rishad K.
Pokrovsky, Ivan
Vyas, Virag

Last modified: 9/13/2010

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Red-necked Falcon Falco chicquera. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 25 Sep. 2020

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