Monday, 30 August 2010

Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo)

OTHER NAMES: Hobby, Northern Hobby
Latin Etymology: Falco ("falcon") subbuteo ("near-buzzard")
 Adult Eurasian Hobby (subspecies F. s. subbuteo) at Rainham Marshes, London - May 2011

Featured Subspecies: Falco subbuteo subbuteo
Weight: 175-285g  /  Length: 29-36cm  /  Wingspan: 78-84cm
UK GREEN LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Hobby is a small falcon which specialises in high speed hunting in the air, mainly feeding on small birds an insects. It's Britain's only migratory falcon and arrives in the summer. While present mainly around reservoirs and wetlands, they are apparently also found in open country with copses, but I suspect the wetland habitats are easier. I've struggled for a while to try and see this species, and when I finally did encounter it, I ran into a variation of "the swift problem". The basic issue being that as they hunt in the air, are relatively small and are very fast moving training a camera on them in flight is difficult - fortunately they are bigger than swifts and thus easily to capture in wider shots using scenery as a landscape focusing point if like me you don't have a manual zoom which can be operated by hand.

Related Species:
Order: Falconiformes
Family: Falconidae
Genus: Falco
Subspecies: F. s. subbuteo, F. s. streichi

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Scarce Summer migrant breeding species (2,800 birds)
 - Seen at Rutland WaterRainham Marshes and Cliffe Pools Passage birds seen in Geddington.

Further Notes: BirdForum OpusIUCN Red ListRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

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