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African Hobby
Falco cuvierii

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Unknown.

Other Names: Falco cuvieri.

Falco cuvierii
click to enlarge
Distribution: Afrotropical.Sub-Saharan Africa from SENEGAMBIA, GUINEA, and SIERRA LEONE south through NIGERIA, CAMEROON, and CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, east to southern CHAD and SUDAN and south to northeastern NAMIBIA, northern BOTSWANA, and northeastern SOUTH AFRICA. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: Sometimes considered conspecific with F. subbuteo, but best considered a superspecies with that form and perhaps also with F. severus and F. longipennis.

Movements: Irruptive or local migrant (Bildstein 2006). Movements are still incompletely understood, but it is increasingly apparent that this species is only a breeding summer visitor to southern Africa (Irwin 1981, Dowsett et al. 2008). This was supported by the results of the Southern African Bird Atlas Project, with the great majority of records in the region being from September-April (Mendelsohn 1997). There is also some suggestion of movements in Uganda, where it was commoner from May to October at Teso (Mann 1976). In other northern areas, it is reportedly resident, so the origin of the birds showing up in southern Africa is still uncertain. more....

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in open country and at the edges of moist woodlands and forests; most common in palm savanna and gallery forest, and is found within cities. In Zimbabwe and the Zambezi Valley in Zambia, it is associated preferentially with palms (Dowsett et al. 2008), while broad-leafed woodland is favored in Namibia (Mendelsohn 1997). In Kampala, Uganda, it occurs particularly in association with very tall eucalyptus trees (Carswell et al. 2005). Usually found singly, in pairs, or in small family groups. Tyhpically, this falcon is shy and elusive. more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Hunts for small birds, bats, and insects on the wing, particularly at dawn and dusk and usually in open clearings or over waterholes. Courses back and forth over good hunting areas, or make fast sorties from a prominent perch. Often joins flocks of European Hobbies and other raptors feeding at alate termite emergences (Mendelsohn 1997). Insect prey includes cicadas, grasshoppers, crickets, and mantises (Clancey 1985). more....

Breeding: Nests high in a tall tree, including exotic species, in the old stick nests of another raptor species or crow, or at the base of palm fronds. In Zimbabwe, old Wahlberg's Eagle and Yellow-billed Kite nests have been used with eggs being laid in September-November at the end of the dry season (Steyn 1982). Clutch size is usually three eggs, which are typical of Falco, being buff-colored and densely mottled with blotches and spots of reddish-brown (Clancey 1985). more....

Conservation: Generally uncommon in northeastern and central Africa and scarce in southern Africa, although it is locally common in a few areas, including cities. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International.

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. African Hobby. Pp. 268-269 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. African Hobby Falcon. P. 254 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.
Steyn, P. 1982. Birds of prey of southern Africa: their identification and
  life histories. David Phillip, Cape Town, South Africa.

Deacon, Neil

Last modified: 2/17/2011

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: African Hobby Falco cuvierii. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 1 Jun. 2020

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