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All information gathered first-hand, since 1995



photo falcon

Falcons have distinctive long, pointed, notched-back wings, and the tail is usually very narrow.

In much of their behavior, Falcons are more similar to owls than to the eagle and hawk type of birds: Falcons do not build their own nests; they bob their heads when curious; they kill their prey by biting the back of the neck; they hold their food in a single claw; they hiss when threatened.

Except for the Sparrowhawk, Falcons are the smallest of the (non-owl) birds of prey.

Hobby

Falco subbuteo   –   Faucon hobereau

Long wings and relatively short tail. In flight its wings are notched far back. Flies with short, fast wing-beats, followed by a glide, and stoops on its prey in a power dive. Also loves aerobatics and soaring.

Size

30-36 cm

Distinctions

grey back, dark head with white throat. Underside is pale and streaked; reddish-brown thighs and under tail.

Habitat

open fields and countryside; lightly wooded areas; nests in trees.

Diet

eats swallows, martins and swifts, and will follow their migrations for that purpose.


Kestrel

Falco tinnunculus   –   Faucon crécerelle

photo kestrel58 The Kestrel is common year-round throughout southern Europe, and is often seen in Beyond, easily recognizable by it almost constant hovering. The male has unique coloring of bluish-grey head and tail, with reddish back and spotted chestnut mantle. The female has a barred tail, and both sexes have a black terminal bar at the end of the tail.

Size

34 cm

Habitat

Similar to the Peregrine, the Kestrel likes open country, with cliffs, crags or tall trees for nesting.


Merlin

Falco columbarius   –   Faucon emerillon

The little Merlin is the smallest of all the European birds of prey. The male has a grey back, partially spotted. Both sexes have pale spotted mantles, and neither has any outstanding markings.

Size

27-33 cm

Habitat

Open, often treeless regions, dunes, marshes and low hills.


Peregrine

Falco peregrinus   –   Faucon pèlerin

sparrowhawk54 The Peregrine Falcon is a year-round resident of Beyond, and the rest of Europe. The coloring is generally grey above and pale underparts with dark bars, but the plumage varies considerably. The head is black, with a white throat.

Size

38-48 cm

Habitat

Cliffs and crags, for nesting, in areas with open spaces around; sometimes along the edge of forests.