Falconidae – Caracaras, Falcons

Merlin by Jim Fenton

Merlin by Jim Fenton

That path no bird knows, Nor has the falcon’s eye seen it. (Job 28:7 NKJV)

CLASS – AVES, Order – FALCONIFORMES, Family – Falconidae – Caracaras, Falcons

Latest I.O.C. Version
Species (66)
Black Caracara (Daptrius ater)
Red-throated Caracara (Ibycter americanus)
Carunculated Caracara (Phalcoboenus carunculatus)
Mountain Caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus)
White-throated Caracara (Phalcoboenus albogularis)
Striated Caracara (Phalcoboenus australis)
Northern Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway)
Guadalupe Caracara (Caracara lutosa)
Southern Crested Caracara (Caracara plancus)
Yellow-headed Caracara (Milvago chimachima)
Chimango Caracara (Milvago chimango)
Laughing Falcon (Herpetotheres cachinnans)
Barred Forest Falcon (Micrastur ruficollis)
Plumbeous Forest Falcon (Micrastur plumbeus)
Lined Forest Falcon (Micrastur gilvicollis)
Cryptic Forest Falcon (Micrastur mintoni)
Slaty-backed Forest Falcon (Micrastur mirandollei)
Collared Forest Falcon (Micrastur semitorquatus)
Buckley’s Forest Falcon (Micrastur buckleyi)
Spot-winged Falconet (Spiziapteryx circumcincta)
Pygmy Falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus)
White-rumped Falcon (Polihierax insignis)
Collared Falconet (Microhierax caerulescens)
Black-thighed Falconet (Microhierax fringillarius)
White-fronted Falconet (Microhierax latifrons)
Philippine Falconet (Microhierax erythrogenys)
Pied Falconet (Microhierax melanoleucos)
Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni)
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Rock Kestrel (Falco rupicolus)
Malagasy Kestrel (Falco newtoni)
Mauritius Kestrel (Falco punctatus)
Reunion Kestrel (Falco duboisi)
Seychelles Kestrel (Falco araeus)
Spotted Kestrel (Falco moluccensis)
Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides)
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
Greater Kestrel (Falco rupicoloides)
Fox Kestrel (Falco alopex)
Grey Kestrel (Falco ardosiaceus)
Dickinson’s Kestrel (Falco dickinsoni)
Banded Kestrel (Falco zoniventris)
Red-necked Falcon (Falco chicquera)
Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus)
Amur Falcon (Falco amurensis)
Eleonora’s Falcon (Falco eleonorae)
Sooty Falcon (Falco concolor)
Aplomado Falcon (Falco femoralis)
Merlin (Falco columbarius)
Bat Falcon (Falco rufigularis)
Orange-breasted Falcon (Falco deiroleucus)
Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo)
African Hobby (Falco cuvierii)
Oriental Hobby (Falco severus)
Australian Hobby (Falco longipennis)
New Zealand Falcon (Falco novaeseelandiae)
Brown Falcon (Falco berigora)
Grey Falcon (Falco hypoleucos)
Black Falcon (Falco subniger)
Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus)
Laggar Falcon (Falco jugger)
Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug)
Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus)
Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus)
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
Taita Falcon (Falco fasciinucha)

On the photos or slides, a “by” indicates one of the photographers or videographers, who have given their permission, with links on our sidebar. Please visit their site to see many more fantastic shots, a “©©” copyright symbol indicates a photo from Creative Commons and ©WikiC is a Creative Commons photo from Wikipedia.

Photographers or Videographers used on this page from our sidebar, Photography, are:
Bob & Nan’s Gallery
Dan’s Pix (Dan)
Dario Sanches
Dave’s BirdingPix
Ian Montgomery’s Birdway
Michael Woodruff’s Fotostream
Nikhil Devasar’s Gallery
Ray’s Wildlife Photography
Robert Scanlon’s Gallery
Wade Dowdy AestheticPhotos

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The falcons and caracaras are around 60 species of diurnal birds of prey that make up the family Falconidae. The family is divided into two subfamiles, Polyborinae, which includes the caracaras and forest falcons, and Falconinae, the falcons, kestrels and falconets.

Falcons and caracaras are small to medium sized birds of prey, ranging in size from the Black-thighed Falconet, which can weight as little as 35 grams (1.2 oz), to the Gyrfalcon, which can weigh as much as 1,735 grams (61.2 oz). They have strongly hooked bills, sharply curved talons and excellent eyesight. The plumage is usually composed of browns, whites, chestnut, black and grey, often with barring of patterning. There is little difference in the plumage of males and females, although a few species have some sexual dimorphism in boldness of plumage.

They differ from other Falconiformes in killing with their beaks instead of their feet. They have a “tooth” on the side of their beak for the purpose.

Falcons and caracaras are carnivores, feeding on birds, small mammals, reptiles, insects and carrion. In popular imagination the falconids are fast flying predators, and while this is true of the genus Falco and some falconets other species, particularly the caracaras are more sedentary in their feeding.

The falcons and caracaras are generally solitary breeders, although around 10% of species are colonial, for example the Red-footed Falcon. They are monogamous, although some caracaras may also employ alloparenting stratergies, where younger birds help adults (usually their parents) in raising the next brood of chicks. Nests are generally not built (except by the caracaras), but are co opted from other birds, for example Pygmy Falcons nest in the nests of weavers, or on the ledges on cliffs. Around 2-4 eggs are laid, and mostly incubated by the female.

Falcons and caracaras have a complicated relationship with humans. In ancient Egypt they were deified in the form of Horus, the Sky and Sun God, and was the ancestor of the Pharaohs. Caracaras also formed part of the legends of the Aztecs, and are today the national emblems of Mexico. Falcons were important in the (formerly often royal) sport of falconry. They have also been persecuted for their predation on game and farm animals, and that persecution has led to the extinction of at least one species, the Guadalupe Caracara.

Some of the Family – Photos are Alphabetical down the columns:

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