Falco fasciinucha Reichenow & Neumann, 1895
* Ornithologische Monatsberichte 3 p.114
The Taita Falcon (Falco fasciinucha) is one of the smallest falcons in the Southern African Sub-region. It was first described from the Taita Hills of Kenya from which it derives its name. It is spread throughout the eastern portion of subsaharan Africa but is mostly found in Kenya. There are a few nesting sites in Zimbabwe (Zambezi River) and Northeastern South Africa. It is also rather scarce and relatively endangered. In Southern Africa itself, there are a few regular breeding sites where the birds can regularly be found.
Its courting and mating period is similar to that of the Peregrine Falcon. The same applies to its vocal as well as territorial preference.
This small falcon is fairly distinctive, but may offer some confusion with a few other species.The rufous belly causes resemblance with African Hobby, but important features to look out for are a white throat and the obvious rufous patches on the nape. Also the underwing coverts are uniform rufous whereas in African Hobby has more streaking. The most obvious underwing feature though is the fact that the flight feathers are barred black and white where as there is much more rufous in the flight feathers of African Hobby.The robust, long-winged Taita Falcons have a short tail. Their flight is fast and somewhat heavy looking, but they are adept at aerial hunting.
The Taita Falcon has a body length of 10 – 12 inches, an approximate wingspan of 1 1/2 – 2 feet, and weighs 7 1/2 – 11 ounces.
* BirdLife International (2004). Falco fasciinucha. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes a range map and a brief justification of why this species is near threatened
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