Hellenica World

Falco subniger

BLACK FALCON Falco subniger

Falco subniger

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Aves
Subclassis: Carinatae
Infraclassis: Neornithes
Parvclassis: Neognathae
Ordo: Falconiformes
Familia: Falconidae
Subfamilia: Falconinae
Tribus: Falconini
Genus: Falco
Species: Falco subniger

Name

Falco subniger G.R. Gray, 1843

Reference

Annals and Magazine of Natural History (1) 11 p.371

Vernacular names
Česky: Raroh černý
English: Black Falcon
Français: Faucon noir
Türkçe: Kara doğan

The Black Falcon (Falco subniger) is a medium-large falcon that lives only in Australia. It is mainly found in open grasslands and woodlands in the semi arid inland parts of Australia. First year falcons are a dark black in colour fading to browner black in successive years. It is fast flying for its size with tapering, pointed wings.

The females are usually around 55 cm (22 in) from beak to tail, the smaller males being only 45 cm (18 in). The sexes are very similar apart from their size. They are comparatively lighter in build than Peregrines with a slightly wider wingspan and longer legs. They are more agile on the ground than Peregrines though less so than Brown Falcons.

Its relationships are enigmatic, like with many falcons. It might be an early offshoot of the Old World hierofalcons such as the Saker Falcon. (Wink et al. 2004)

The Black Falcon's prey is mainly birds, such as quail, various parrot species, finches, magpies, crows, starlings etc. It often takes prey on the wing either in the stoop or stooping into a chase. It also eats ground-dwelling animals such as lizards, rabbits, rats, mice and small marsupials. It is well known as a pirate of other species of raptors such as Harriers, Kestrals and Kites. They will often hunt at the edges of bush fires for fleeing prey. Females have been observed killing Perigrine Tercels and vice versa in areas where the two species compete for food. The Black Falcon is one of the few falcons which have been observed eating carrion. Black Falcons are nomadic over most of their range usually following quail. Unlike new world Falcons Black Falcons do not aggressively defend their nests from predators. Their decrease in number can largely be attributed to predation of nestling falcons by introduced feral cats.

References

* BirdLife International (2004). {{{title}}}. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern.
* Wink, Michael; Sauer-Gürth, Hedi; Ellis, David & Kenward, Robert (2004): Phylogenetic relationships in the Hierofalco complex (Saker-, Gyr-, Lanner-, Laggar Falcon). In: Chancellor, R.D. & Meyburg, B.-U. (eds.): Raptors Worldwide: 499-504. WWGBP, Berlin. PDF fulltext

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