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

*100 Percent of Images
Latest I.O.C. Version
Species (67)

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

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 sight to see many more fantastic shots, a “©©” copyright symbol indicates a photo from Creative Commons and ©WikiC is a Creative Commons photo from Wikipedia. “†” indicates the bird is extinct. *LLABS* means it is on Our Life List of All Birds Seen.

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

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