The FALCONS and CARACARAS are around 60 species of diurnal birds of
prey that make up the family FALCONIDAE. The family is divided into
Polyborinae , which includes the caracaras and forest
falcons , and FALCONINAE, the falcons , kestrels and falconets
Spiziapteryx ). They differ from the eagles of
* 1 Description * 2 Distribution and habitat
* 3 Behaviour
* 3.1 Diet and feeding * 3.2 Breeding
* 4 Relations with humans
* 5 Taxonomy and systematics
* 5.1 Families * 5.2 Subfamilies * 5.3 Genera in taxonomic order * 5.4 Fossil genera
* 6 Footnotes * 7 References * 8 External links
Falcons and caracaras are small to medium-sized birds of prey, ranging in size from the black-thighed falconet , which can weigh as little as 35 grams (1.2 oz), to the gyrfalcon , which can weigh as much as 1,735 grams (61.2 oz). They have strongly hooked bills, sharply curved talons and excellent eyesight. The plumage is usually composed of browns, whites, chestnut, black and grey, often with barring of patterning. There is little difference in the plumage of males and females, although a few species have some sexual dimorphism in boldness of plumage.
DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT
The family has a cosmopolitan distribution across the world, absent
only from the densest forest of central Africa, some remote oceanic
islands, the high
DIET AND FEEDING
The laughing falcon is a snake-eating specialist
Falcons and caracaras are carnivores, feeding on birds, small mammals
including bats, reptiles, insects and carrion. In popular imagination
the falconids are fast flying predators, and while this is true of the
genus Falco and some falconets, other species, particularly the
caracaras, are more sedentary in their feeding. The forest falcons of
The red-footed falcon is unusual in being a colonial breeding falcon
The falcons and caracaras are generally solitary breeders, although around 10% of species are colonial , for example the red-footed falcon . They are monogamous , although some caracaras may also employ alloparenting strategies, where younger birds help adults (usually their parents) in raising the next brood of chicks. Nests are generally not built (except by the caracaras), but are co opted from other birds, for example pygmy falcons nest in the nests of weavers , or on the ledges on cliffs. Around 2–4 eggs are laid, and mostly incubated by the female. Incubation times vary from species to species and are correlated with body size, lasting 28 days in smaller species and up to 35 days in larger species. Chicks fledge after 28–49 days, again varying with size.
RELATIONS WITH HUMANS
Falcons and caracaras have a complicated relationship with humans. In
ancient Egypt they were deified in the form of
TAXONOMY AND SYSTEMATICS
See also: List of Falconidae
The family Falconidae was introduced by the English zoologist William Elford Leach in a guide to the contents of the British Museum published in 1820.
Traditionally, the raptors were grouped into four families in the
First, multiple lines of evidence in the 1970s and 1980s suggested
that the New World vultures
Cathartidae were closer related to storks
and herons (
In Europe, it has become common to split the remaining raptors into
two: the falcons and caracaras remain in the order Falconiformes
(about 60 species in 4 groups), and the remaining 220-odd species
In agreement with the split of
The clade Falconidae is composed of three main branches: the falconets and true falcons , the caracaras , and the forest falcons . Differences exist between authorities in how these are grouped into subfamilies. Also, the placement of the laughing falcon (Herpetotheres) and the spot-winged falconet (Spiziapteryx) varies.
One common approach uses two subfamilies
Polyborinae and Falconinae.
The first contains the caracaras, forest falcons, and laughing falcon.
All species in this group are native to the
The composition of Falconidae is disputed, and Polyborninae is not featured in the American Ornithologists\' Union checklists for North and South American birds that are produced by its Classification Committees (NACC and SACC). The Check-list of North American Birds considers the laughing falcon a true falcon (Falconinae) and replaces Polyborinae with Caracarinae and Micrasturinae . On the other hand, the Check-list of South American Birds classifies all caracaras as true falcons and puts the laughing falcon and forest falcons into the subfamily Herpetotherinae.
Based on genetic research from the late 1990s to 2015, Boyd uses three subfamilies. He places the laughing falcon (Herpetotheres) with the forest falcons (Micrastur) into Herpetotherinae (similar to SACC). Caracarinae is separate (similar to NACC), but also contains the spot-winged falconet (Spiziapteryx). The other falcons are placed in Falconinae.
Falconinae, in its traditional classification, contains the falcons, falconets, and pygmy falcons . Depending on the authority, Falconinae may also include the caracaras and/or the laughing falcon. Boyd further divides the Falconinae into two tribes: Polyhieracini containing the Microhierax falconets, plus Falconini containing the Falco falcons. The pygmy falcon and the white-rumped (pygmy) falcon are split into separate genera (Polyhierax and Neohierax), with the former placed into Polyhieracini and the latter into Falconini.
GENERA IN TAXONOMIC ORDER
* Subfamily Polyborinae
* Genus Daptrius – black caracara * Genus Ibycter – red-throated caracara (sometimes included in Daptrius) * Genus Phalcoboenus (4 species) – Andean and southern South American caracaras * Genus Caracara – crested caracaras (2 living species, 1 extinct ) * Genus Milvago – brown caracaras (2 species) * Genus Micrastur – forest falcons (7 species)
* Subfamily Falconinae
* Genus Herpetotheres – laughing falcon * Genus Spiziapteryx – spot-winged falconet * Genus Polihierax – pygmy falcons (2 species, includes Neohierax) * Genus Microhierax – typical falconets (5 species) * Genus Falco – true falcons, hobbies and kestrels (around 37 species)
* Antarctoboenus (
Early Eocene of Antarctica)
* Parvulivenator (
Early Eocene of England)
* Stintonornis (London Clay
Early Eocene of England)
* Badiostes (Santa Cruz Early
* ^ Tordoff, Andrew (2002). "Raptor migration at Hoang Lien Nature
Reserve, northern Vietnam" (PDF). Forktail. 18: 45–48. Archived from
the original (pdf) on 2011-06-10.
* ^ Mikula, P., Morelli, F., Lučan, R. K., Jones, D. N., &
Tryjanowski, P. (2016). Bats as prey of diurnal birds: a global
perspective. Mammal Review.
* ^ Collopy, M.W. (1977). "Food Caching by Female American Kestrels
in Winter". Condor. 79 (1): 63–68.
* Kramarz, Alejandro: Garrido, Alberto; Forasiepi, Analía; Bond, Mariano ;background:none transparent;border:none;-moz-box-shadow:none;-webkit-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;">v
* t * e
Birds (class : Aves)
* Families and orders
Glossary of bird terms
* List by population
* Lists by region
* Recently extinct birds
Late Quaternary prehistoric birds
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