Falco berigora Vigors and Horsfield, 1827, New South Wales.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Brown hawk; French: Faucon bйrigora; German: Habitchfalke; Spanish: Halcуn Berigora.
16.1–20.1 in (41–51 cm); male 0.7–1.3 lb (316–590 g), female 0.9–1.9 lb (430–860 g). A medium-sized long-legged, buteolike falcon. Adults extremely variable: from tan and buff to chocolate brown with variable white underparts (males tend to have more white), to near black all over (with some barring visible in wing and tail). Juveniles brown with buff touches to forehead, nape, and vent. Some regional variation in predominant color. Tend to be darker in humid areas, paler in arid areas, smaller in tropics, larger in temperate zone.
Australia and New Guinea, except highlands.
Open woodland, savanna, grassland, farmland, and desert up to about 6,600 ft (2,000 m).
Adults sedentary. Gathers in sometimes large flocks postbreeding, especially at fires and locust and mouse plagues, sometimes with other raptors.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Versatile and opportunist hunter: takes prey from perch, hover, in direct flight, or running over the ground. Occasionally robs other raptors. Attracted to fires, cattle herds, farm machinery, and livestock for the animals they flush. Pairs occasionally hunt cooperatively. Feeds on fresh carrion but takes mostly live prey: mammals, birds, reptiles (especially snakes), amphibians, and large insects; rarely crabs and fish.
Breeds annually as solitary pair in stick nest of mainly corvids, and other raptors and magpies Gymnorhina tibicen; rarely on a man-made structure, tree fern, tree hole, cliff, or termitarium. Lays mainly August–September in south, earlier in north. Clutch 2–3, mostly three; incubation 33 days; young fledge at five to six weeks.
Not threatened. Generally common and extremely widespread. Expanded into forested areas turned to farmland and open woodland.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Traditional significance and food to some aboriginal tribes, but practice largely lapsed.
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