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Eleonora's Falcon | Falco eleonorae

The Eleonora's Falcon is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Accipitridae bird family group which includes birds such as Raptors, Old Vultures, Osprey.

The description for the Eleonora's Falcon (Latin name Falco eleonorae) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Falco eleonorae can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 177 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 533. You will find a picture of the Eleonora's Falcon on page 496.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Eleonora's Falcon between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Eleonora's Falcon has a height of 65 cms and weighs around 1300 gms. The head is coloured brown while the bill is coloured grey. The Falco eleonorae has a white coloured throat, yellow legs and a brown coloured back. The eyes are orange.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is brown

Eyes are orange

Bill is grey

Legs are yellow

Throat is white

Back is brown

Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

The Falco eleonorae attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten

This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Eleonora's Falcon strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.

The Falco eleonorae attacks smaller birds in flight and uses its sharp claws to break the bird's neck. Some of the birds are attacked in their nests while others are killed on the ground. The Eleonora's Falcon eats the eggs of its victim.

The diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws. The Eleonora's Falcon uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Eleonora's Falcon is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 2 eggs and they are coloured red.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foligae.

The Eleonora's Falcon is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests

The bird is an urban dweller as well, being at home in parks, gardens and in old vacated buildings

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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