Skip to Content

Types of Falcon Species

Below is shown a list of falcon species. Members of the falcon familiy are roughly divisible into three or four groups.

By Nick Askew

Below is shown a list of falcon species. Members of the falcon familiy are roughly divisible into three or four groups.

The first contains the kestrels. Kestrels feed chiefly on terrestrial vertebrates and invertebrates of appropriate size, such as rodents, reptiles, or insects.

The second group contains slightly larger (on average) and more elegant species, the hobbies and relatives. These birds are characterized by considerable amounts of dark slaty grey in their plumage; the malar area is nearly always black. They feed mainly on smaller birds.

Third are the Peregrine Falcon and its relatives: large powerful birds which also have a black malar area (except some very light colour morphs), and often a black cap also. Otherwise, they are somewhat intermediate between the other groups, being chiefly medium grey with some lighter or brownish colours on the upper side. They are on average more delicately patterned than the hobbies and if the hierofalcons are excluded, this group contains typically species with horizontal barring on the underside. Very similar to these and sometimes included therein are the 4 or so species of hierofalcons (literally, “hawk-falcons”). They represent taxa with usually more phaeomelanins which impart reddish or brown colours, and generally more strongly patterned plumage reminiscent of hawks. Notably, their undersides have a lengthwise pattern of blotches, lines or arrowhead marks.

Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnansLC
Barred Forest-falcon Micrastur ruficollisLC
Plumbeous Forest-falcon Micrastur plumbeusVU
Lined Forest-falcon Micrastur gilvicollisLC
Cryptic Forest-falcon Micrastur mintoniLC
Slaty-backed Forest-falcon Micrastur mirandolleiLC
Collared Forest-falcon Micrastur semitorquatusLC
Buckley’s Forest-falcon Micrastur buckleyiLC
Spot-winged Falconet Spiziapteryx circumcinctaLC
Crested Caracara Caracara cheriwayLC
Southern Caracara Caracara plancusLC
Guadalupe Caracara Caracara lutosaEX
Red-throated Caracara Ibycter americanusLC
Carunculated Caracara Phalcoboenus carunculatusLC
Mountain Caracara Phalcoboenus megalopterusLC
White-throated Caracara Phalcoboenus albogularisLC
Striated Caracara Phalcoboenus australisNT
Black Caracara Daptrius aterLC
Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachimaLC
Chimango Caracara Milvago chimangoLC
Pygmy Falcon Polihierax semitorquatusLC
White-rumped Falcon Polihierax insignisNT
Collared Falconet Microhierax caerulescensLC
Black-thighed Falconet Microhierax fringillariusLC
White-fronted Falconet Microhierax latifronsNT
Philippine Falconet Microhierax erythrogenysLC
Pied Falconet Microhierax melanoleucosLC
Brown Falcon Falco berigoraLC
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanniVU
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculusLC
Madagascar Kestrel Falco newtoniLC
Mauritius Kestrel Falco punctatusVU
Seychelles Kestrel Falco araeaVU
Reunion Kestrel Falco buboisiEX
Spotted Kestrel Falco moluccensisLC
Nankeen Kestrel Falco cenchroidesLC
American Kestrel Falco sparveriusLC
Greater Kestrel Falco rupicoloidesLC
Fox Kestrel Falco alopexLC
Grey Kestrel Falco ardosiaceusLC
Dickinson’s Kestrel Falco dickinsoniLC
Banded Kestrel Falco zoniventrisLC
Red-necked Falcon Falco chicqueraLC
Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinusNT
Amur Falcon Falco amurensisLC
Eleonora’s Falcon Falco eleonoraeLC
Sooty Falcon Falco concolorNT
Aplomado Falcon Falco femoralisLC
Merlin Falco columbariusLC
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularisLC
Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteoLC
African Hobby Falco cuvieriiLC
Oriental Hobby Falco severusLC
Australian Hobby Falco longipennisLC
New Zealand Falcon Falco novaeseelandiaeNT
Grey Falcon Falco hypoleucosNT
Black Falcon Falco subnigerLC
Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicusLC
Laggar Falcon Falco juggerNT
Saker Falcon Falco cherrugVU
Gyr Falcon Falco rusticolusLC
Prairie Falcon Falco mexicanusLC
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinusLC
Barbary Falcon Falco pelegrinoidesLC
Orange-breasted Falcon Falco deiroleucusLC
Taita Falcon Falco fasciinuchaNT

Image: List of falcon species (David Ian Roberts)

Play your partto protect birds

Your support is critical to ensure that BirdLife International can continue its work, delivering high impact and long-term conservation for both people and nature.