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Celebrating the achievements of landcarers

04/12/2017

The Tamar Island Wetland Cares Volunteer Group has been recognised in the 2017 Landcare Tasmania Awards.More

Horsetail Falls walk now open

15/11/2017

Visitors to the West Coast are in for some spectacular views on the new Horsetail Falls walk near Queenstown.More

Bruny Island Neck lookout re-opens

10/11/2017

The walkways and lookout at the Bruny Island Neck will re-open to the public today, following the completion of a new, larger car park that will provide improved access to the popular lookout.More

Brown Falcon, Falco berigora

Description

Brown Falcons are a small to medium sized raptor (bird of prey) ranging from 40 to 50cm with an average weight of 530g. Females are larger than the males. They have a range of colours but in general they are dark brown above with cream or pale buff underparts. Younger birds tend to be darker than adults with less obvious barring on the tail with a buff or yellow colour on the face, throat and neck. All Brown Falcons have a characteristic tear stripe below the eye. They are often referred to as the brown hawk. Their name berigora comes from the aboriginal name for the bird.

Habitat

It prefers open grasslands and is often found in agricultural areas. However it occurs in all but very dense forests.

Diet

They are often seen sitting alone on an exposed perch such as a dead branch, tree or telegraph pole watching for prey. Once prey is spotted the Brown Falcon will swoop, grasping the prey in their talons. Unlike eagles and kites, falcons lack the clutching mechanism which allows them to kill their prey. Instead the Brown Falcon’s beak has specialized teeth (tomial) and notches used to sever the spine of their prey. They feed on small mammals, reptiles, insects and small birds. In winter they catch a lot of insects which they chase on the ground. Brown Falcons have a relatively slow flight and wing beat compared to other falcons and although it can soar to great heights, on windy days it has a rather inefficient hover.

Breeding

In Tasmania, Brown Falcons generally breed in winter or spring (June to November). They can lay up to six eggs although usually only three are laid. The eggs are incubated for 30 days by both parents and once chicks hatch they remain in the nest for a further 45 days. They may build a stick nest in a tree, nest in open hollows but often use another hawk’s old nest to raise their young.

Call

Brown Falcons are generally silent at rest but when in flight it may make screeching and cackling noises.

Distribution

They occur throughout Tasmania and mainland Australia and are considered secure in all States. They also live in New Guinea.

The Brown Falcon is widely distributed throughout Tasmania.