Birds of Prey

Brown FalconBrown Falcon – captured moments Brown Falcon – preening

The Brown Falcon (Falco berigora) are found across Australia with six different colour forms. The different colour schemes were previously identified as sub-species, but are now described as different morphs, such as rufous, brown intermediate, brown pale, etc. Uniformly brown upper with dark facial marks, the under parts are whitish with dark streaks, can be blotched brown and white, or wholly dark brown. The underwings are pale and barred. The birds from Central Australia are usually paler in colour, whilst those from the tropical north are often very dark and often confused with the Black Falcon. The light rufous morph is found mostly inland.

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

Photos © Dorothy L

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.

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.

Adults birds are about 40 to 50 cm long, although the females are usually larger then the male, although similarly coloured. The wingspan approximately 89 to 109 cm.

The falcons make a loud cackle call, uttered frequently.

Photos © CK Leel

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Falconiformes
  • Family: Falconidae
  • Genus: Falco
  • Species: F. berigora
  • Binomial name: Falco berigora

Footnote & References

  1. Royal Australasian Ornithologist Union 2003 /

Brown FalconBrown Falcon – captured moments Brown Falcon – preening

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