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Found across Australia with six different colour forms ( were previously identified as sub-species, but are now described as different morphs, such as rufous, brown intermediate, brown pale, etc), the Brown Falcon (Falco berigora) pictured here were at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds.

Brown Falcon (Falco berigora) dark morph, Alice Springs Sewage Ponds, NT © Dorothy Latimer
Brown Falcon (Falco berigora) dark morph, Alice Springs Sewage Ponds, NT © Dorothy Latimer

The Brown Falcon has uniformly brown upper with dark facial marks. The under parts are whitish with dark streaks, and can be blotched brown and white, or wholly dark brown. The underwings are pale and barred. The Brown Falcons in Central Australia are usually paler in colour, compared to those from the tropical north that are often very dark and are often confused with the Black Falcon. The light rufous morph of the Brown Falcon is found mostly inland.

Brown Falcon (Falco berigora)
Brown Falcon (Falco berigora), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds, NT © Dorothy Latimer

The Brown Falcon, Falco berigora, exhibits one of the most varied plumages of all falcons, with birds ranging in colour from a very dark brown, almost black, plumage through to a reddish ‘phase’ reminiscent of the Australian Kestrel, F. cenchroides (Marchant and Higgins 1993; Olsen 1995).

© Royal Australasian Ornithologist Union 2003 http://www.publish.csiro.au/journals/emu
Brown Falcon (Falco berigora)
Brown Falcon (Falco berigora), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds, NT © Dorothy Latimer

The brown falcon typically have red-brown heads with narrow black streaks with a light crown and off-white chin. The facial marking comprising broad, dark vertical bands below and from behind the eye, curving downward.

Brown Falcon (Falco berigora)
Brown Falcon (Falco berigora), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds, NT © Dorothy Latimer

Wings are a spotted red-brown with dark brown quills. Beaks are light blue/grey; eyes are brown. The legs and feet are grey, with feathers forming ‘trousers’ around top of the legs. Eyes are dark brown and the bill a blue-grey with black tip, skin around eye usually grey-white.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Falconiformes
  • Family: Falconidae
  • Genus: Falco
  • Species: Falco berigora
Brown Falcon (Falco berigora)
Brown Falcon (Falco berigora), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds, NT © Dorothy Latimer

Footnote & References

  1. Royal Australasian Ornithologist Union 2003 http://www.publish.csiro.au/journals/emu / https://www.une.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/23028/mcdonald-2003a-emu.pdf

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