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Tasmania's award-winning Three Capes Track has been a runaway hit with walkers, with more than 28,000 local, national and international visitors completing it since it opened in December 2015.More

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26/06/2018

Tasmania's first signal station has been restored more than 200 years since it began operation on Mount Nelson.
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Australian Hobby, Falco longipennis

Description

The Australian Hobby or Little Falcon is one of Australia’s smallest raptors. It reaches about 36cm in length and closely resembles the Peregrine falcon except it is smaller and darker in colour. It has slaty - grey wings and upper body with a dark mask on the head. Underneath it is a lighter brown. It has a white blaze running from the external ear under the chin. A hobby is a fairly small, very swift falcon with long narrow wings.

Habitat

They live in a range of habitats, particularly open woodlands but are very adaptable and can be sometimes spotted in remnant bushland and urban parks and gardens.

Diet

The Australian Hobby is remarkably agile and can change direction with ease and travel at great speeds, able to catch its prey in mid air. They have long, narrow wings which allows them great manoevrability and speed and for this they were given their scientific name longipennis. They are superb aerialists and catch most of their prey on the wing. They will often shadow slower raptors such as the collared sparrowhawk. Sparrowhawks can work in denser foliage and when they flush out prey, the faster Australian Hobby can then grab it. This may lead to spectacular aerial dogfights as hawks try to chase off the shadowing Australian hobby. They hunt small mammals, birds up to their own size, bats at dusk and large flying insects. Even swifts and swallows cannot outmaneuver a hobby.

Breeding

They generally breed in nests they have taken over from other birds. The female incubates the eggs and broods the young whilst the male brings back food to the nest.

Call

The call is a shrill, high-pitched " kek kek kek kek" accelerating into a rapid "kee kee kee kee".

Distribution

Australian Hobbys occur throughout Australia including northern and eastern Tasmania. Although endemic to Australia, they are a winter migrant to other countries and fly to Indonesia and New Guinea to overwinter.