ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Fascinating Falcons

Updated on August 7, 2015

Falconidae a fascinating family of birds

The falcon tribe of the family Falconidae have characters that are both striking and well defined. These characteristics are that the head and neck are feathered. The eye is shaded by a projection above, which gives this family of birds the appearance of keenness as well as intelligence of expression to the eye, which itself is very bright and alert.

The intelligence appearance of this family of birds.


Characteristics continued

The cere of the bill is generally coloured and the basalportion of it is adorned with short stiff hair-like feathers. Both mandibles are, in general, hooked throughout their whole length. These madibles are very strong the upper one pointed at the tip. The lower one in slightly rounded and the cutting edges are armed with a tooth, or notch, more or less perfect. The whole structure of the bill indicates a capacity of rending substances in a more recent state than the carrion beaks of the Vultures. The nostrils are pierced in the cere, open and rounded or oval in their outline.

The tarsi { The shank of the leg } are stout and of a moderate length and covered by feathers or hard by hard scales. The outer toe of the foot is often united to the middle one, with a membrane at the base. The inner toe is free. the claws are typically pointed and sharp and very capable of movement. They are somewhat retractable, when the bird is at rest, but not into sheaths. This retraction is enabled by an elastic-like tendon and helps the bird to keep its claws injury free when they land upon sharp points. The claws are not used in feeding.

The peregrine is a typical falcon


Identity confusion

In many of the species there is a considerable difference between the plumage of the young and mature birds. This often leads to confusion where identification is concerned. The same problem often arises from the differences in male and female birds of the same species. The female is by far the more powerful bird, often up to a third heavier than the male. She is strong , bold and fierce in proportion.

The principle differences in the plumage are, the young have the colours more broken and mottled than the mature birds and tend to have the hues of the female, rather than the male, usually inclining towards brown.

Falcons are very strong and carry an animal nearly as heavy as themselves for many miles. They prefer the prey which they kill, which are mostly warm blooded animals, birds or small mammals. However, some species also eat fish, reptiles and even beetles. They are not cruel birds and do not torture their prey like the vultures are inclined to do. they are quiet birds and seldom seen out and about unless in search for food. The nest in lofty inaccessible places and more rarely in trees or on the ground.

They eject by mouth the bones and other indigestible food. This ejectment is in the form of small globular castings or pellets that were formerly known as quids. They inhabit most parts of the world. The larger species are often only encountered in wild places. The more bold in nature are usually dwellers of cold latitudes rather than in the warm or even temperate ones.

American kestrel in flight


The European Kestrel

Here we review a member of the falcon tribe the European Kestrel Falco tinnulus from the Latin falcis meaning a sickle a reference to the hooked talons and tinnulus indicating shrill {sounding}.

This one of the UK's most observable member of this is often seen hovering over motorway verges and other areas of rough grassland, The plumage is of a rufous chestnut. The male has a blue grey head and tail with a black band at the end of the tail which is fanned whilst it is hovering. All have mantle spotted and under parts streaked black or blackish. The bill is hooked with a bluish horn colour. The cere is yellow as are the legs and skin around the eye.

European Kestrel

Note the yellow cere {where the nostrils are } yellow skin around the eye and yellow legs.
Note the yellow cere {where the nostrils are } yellow skin around the eye and yellow legs. | Source

Rapid flight

The European Kestrel has a rapid flight, also soars and habitually hovers followed by a pounce they are 34 cm long with a wingspan of 76cm. The male weighs 190g the female 220g. They are distributed across Eurasia and Africa. In the UK it may be encountered over open grassland, heath land, farm land and even towns, where they prey on small mammals such as the field vole and insects. In warmer regions they will also take lizards.

The female lays 4-5 eggs often just on a ledge or a hole in a tree or in the nest of a large bird that has been vacated by the previous tenant. They some times take to nest boxes that are specially designed for such birds.

The eggs are roundish in shape and closely mottles with dull red blotches on a yellowish white background. The spots may vary in amount and in some cases the red and background colour are of equal amounts, although a general red affect is more usual.

They are incubated for 28-29 days by the female occasionally relieved by the male. They fledge at 32-37 days. they raise one brood per season. The young are ready for breeding themselves at one year old.

Kestrel in its familiar poise of hovering


Conservation issues UK

Here in the UK kestrels have been placed on the Amber list of Conservation Concern. Chiefly because it is a bird of European concern.

The British population size during the summer is an estimated 53-58,000 pairs {2007}

Explaining the Basic criteria for Conservation Listing in the UK.-----

The Green List ---Population numbers are stable or have increased since 1996.

The Amber list---There has been a decline in population/distribution of between 25-50% since 1996.

The Red List--- There has been a decline in population/distribution of over 50% since 1996. Any animal that appears on this list is subject to a Species Action Plan {SAP} being formulated and implemented on the the creatures behalf. The SAP which comes under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan is hoped to halt and eventually reverse the decline of that creature.{ or plant} . These plans are implemented on a local level and involve many conservation organisations.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Marcy Goodfleisch, Thank you for visiting and for leaving your appreciated comments. Best wishes to you.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      6 years ago from Planet Earth

      I've never before read these sort of details! Very interesting Information; voted up!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)