Aplomado Falcon

Aplomado Falcon

Spanish names: Halcón aplomado, Halcón fajado. Falcão-de-coleira (Brazil), Orange-chested hobby (old name)

Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Falco femoralis
Population size
200-500 thou
Life Span
12 yrs
WEIGHT
261-407 g
LENGTH
37-45 cm
WINGSPAN
102-122 cm

The Aplomado falcon is a medium-sized falcon found in the Americas. It is a very slender, long-winged, and long-tailed bird. In adults, the upperparts are dark blue-grey, as is much of the head, with the usual falcon "moustache" contrasting sharply with the white throat and eyestripe. The upper breast continues the white of the throat; there are black patches on each side of the lower breast that meet in the middle; the belly and thighs, below the black patches, are light cinnamon. The tail is black with narrow white or grey bars and a white tip. The cere (beak), eye-ring, and feet are yellow or yellow-orange in color. Juvenile birds are very similar to adults, but their upperparts and belly band are blackish brown, the chest is streaked with black, the white on the head and breast is buffy, and the cinnamon on the underparts is paler, as are the feet.

Distribution

Aplomado falcons range from northern Mexico and Trinidad locally to southern South America. These birds inhabit dry grasslands, savannahs, deserts, and marshes.

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

These beautiful birds are agile and powerful fliers; they are often seen soaring at twilight hunting insects and eating them on the wing. They also hunt at fields being burned, at which many birds of this species may gather; breeding pairs may also hunt together. Aplomado falcons also often chase after prey on foot and are known to hide the uneaten food for later, defending these sites from other birds. At night, they rest perching on the branches of trees. In order to communicate with each other, Aplomado falcons utter rapid "kak-kak-kak-kak", “keeh-keeh-keeh” or “ee-ee-ee-ee”. They may also make a single, sharp “keeh” or “kiih”.

Group name
Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Aplomado falcons are carnivores; they feed mainly on insects and birds but also take small mammals and lizards.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
March-May
INCUBATION PERIOD
1 month
INDEPENDENT AGE
4-5 weeks
FEMALE NAME
falcon
MALE NAME
tiercel
BABY NAME
eyas, eyass
BABY CARRYING
2-3 eggs

Aplomado falcons are monogamous forming strong pair-bonds. They usually breed between March and May. Before the egg-laying pairs perform courtship displays during which birds fly from perch to perch and then soar together. Aplomado falcons do not build their own nest but use abandoned nests of other raptors which are usually placed in trees or tall shrubs. Female lays usually 2 to 3 eggs that are incubated with 1 month by both parents. Chicks are hatched naked, with closed eyes and white down. They are fed by both adults and usually leave the nest about 4 to 5 weeks after hatching.

Population

Population threats

Aplomado falcons are threatened by habitat loss and it is believed that mainly habitat destruction caused the species' (near-)disappearance from the US.

Population number

According to the What Bird resource, the total population size of the Aplomado falcon is 500,000 individuals. According to All About Birds resource, the global breeding population of this species is 200,000 individuals. Currently, Aplomado falcons are classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List, but their numbers today are decreasing.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • Aplomado is an unusual Spanish word for "lead-colored", referring to the blue-grey areas of the plumage - an approximate English translation would be "plumbeous falcon".
  • Spanish names for the Aplomado falcon include Halcón aplomado and Halcón fajado, roughly translated as "banded falcon" in reference to the characteristic pattern of the bird.
  • In Brazil Aplomado falcon is known as Falcão-de-coleira.
  • During hunting Aplomado falcon pairs often pass food to each other in flight.

References

1. Aplomado Falcon on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aplomado_falcon
2. Aplomado Falcon on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22696450/131940332

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