Falco babylonicus

Falco babylonicus, Gurney.

12. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. I, p. 32 ; Hume's Scrap Book, p. 79 ; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 67.


Length, 16 ; expanse, 38 ; weight, 12ozs ; wing, 11.87 ; tail, (of 12 feathers), 6; tarsus, (feathered for 0.5 in front ) 1.87; bill from gape, 1.19.

Legs and feet bright yellow, whitish at the joints of the reticulated scales of the tarsus; soles with large pads, very conspicuous under second joint of middle and exterior toe ; claws horn black; middle-toe very slender and elongated; irides dark brown; edges of the lids greenish-yellow, with tiny dark lashes ; membrane of the orbits pale greenish.

Forehead buffy-white, feathers dark shafted; line over the eye continued round the back of the head, whitish or fulvous-white ; feathers dark shafted ; whole crown of the head brown, a few feathers in centre towards the front very broadly margined, the rest very narrowly margined, with fulvous or buffy-white; the nape below the white stripe darkish-brown in the centre, the feathers margined with buffy-white, and with a patch of white on either side the feathers of which have dark spots towards the tip; the whole of the rest of the back of the neck, upper back, scapulars, and wing-coverts a nearly uniform brown with a faint tinge of slaty, and all the feathers tipped and margined with fulvous-white, very narrowly towards the head, and more broadly towards the points of the scapulars ; the hue of the back of the neck is slightly darker; the quills are much the same color, but somewhat more bluish; all the quills have a number of incomplete bars, or oval spots of rufous-white on the inner web ; the last five primaries, the secondaries and the tertiaries have each two or three tiny rufous-white spots on the outer webs also; and the greater-coverts of the secondaries and tertiaries have similar small inconspicuous spots on both webs; and all the secondaries and tertiaries, and the last few primaries, are narrowly tipped with buffy-white; the rump and lower back are a somewhat paler and more sandy-brown, margined with pale rufous; the upper tail-coverts are a still more sandy-brown, tipped and margined with dingy-white, and with one or more incomplete bars of fulvous-white; the tail-feathers are brown, paler and sandier on the centre feathers, and darker, and more slaty on the outer feathers, all narrowly tipped with dirty-white, and all with six or seven one-quarter-inch broad transverse bars on both webs, fulvous white on the centre feathers, and rufous-white on the exterior feathers; the bars are scarcely visible on the outer web of the exterior feather; chin, and upper part of throat, pure white ; a dark-brown cheek-stripe from under the eye, margined with pale rufous ; ear-coverts mingled pale brown and rufous-white.

Hinder portion of the cheeks white, some of the feathers tinged pale-rufous; an ill-defined brown stripe (the feathers slightly tipped fulvous-white) running backwards from the posterior angle of the eye, and dividing the white of the hind-cheeks from the white of the sides of the nape; the lower throat and upper portion of breast fulvous-white, each feather dark shafted, and with a narrow somewhat pear-shaped streak of dark brown towards the tip; the rest of the breast, sides and upper abdomen fulvous-white, each feather with a well marked central stripe of brown, narrowest in front, broadest towards the sides.

Lower abdomen and vent white, slightly tinged with fulvous, a few of the feathers dark shafted; lower tail-coverts (which do not reach within two inches of the end of the tail) white, with two or three transverse, somewhat wavy bars, of pale brown ; interior thigh-coverts white ; exterior thigh-coverts white, tinged with fulvous, each feather dark shafted, and with a central lanceolate stripe of brown, the bars above mentioned showing through; the lower wing-coverts, all reddish-brown, conspicuously margined at the tip, and the longer ones barred with somewhat fulvous-white.

Mr. Hume in his " Rough Notes " gives the measurements and description of a fine female, shot by him in the Punjaub : :-
Dimensions. :- Length, 17.95 ; expanse, 4.1, tail from vent, 7.25 ; foot, greatest Length, 4.5, greatest width 4 ; wing, 13; wings, when closed, reach to within 1.87 of end of tail ; tarsus, 1.75 ; mid-toe to root of claw, 1.9 ; weight, 1.87 lbs.

Description. :- The irides were deep brown ; the cere, gape, and orbital skin, as well as the legs and feet, were bright yellow; the claws were black, and the corneous portion of the bill was blue, changing to horny-black at the tip.

The forehead and the centre of the top of the head were sandy-rufous, each feather with a dark-brown shaft; the sides of the top and the back of the head were a somewhat ashy or slaty-brown, the feathers more or less margined with sandy-rufous ; a broad, rufous, half collar ran round the back of the neck, a little mottled behind the ear-coverts, and again in the centre of the back of the neck, with dusky-slaty; the whole mantle was slaty-grey, dark and dusky towards the base of the neck, and paling towards the rump and upper tail-coverts ; most, if not all, of the feathers were narrowly margined paler, those towards the nape with rufous, and those lower down with greyish-white; most of the feathers also were somewhat conspicuously darker shafted, and all exhibited broad, transverse somewhat ill-defined, dusky-slaty, bands ; the rump and upper tail-coverts were pale slaty, or French-grey, with brown shafts, and transverse arrow head, dusky bars ; the tail-feathers were pale slaty-grey, tipped with rufous, and with numerous broad transverse, well defined, slaty-brown bars, broadest towards the tips; there was a blackish line under the eye, continued downwards for about an inch and a quarter, as a narrow cheek-stripe ; the two cheek-stripes nearly meet on the throat, about an inch and a half below the base of the lower mandible; the whole of the lower parts were a rich rufous-salmon color, somewhat paler on the chin and centre of the throat, and deeper on the ear-coverts, sides of neck, and centre of the abdomen; the breast, chin and throat are perfectly spotless ; the abdomen, flanks, lower tail-coverts and tibial plumes were regularly, but rather widely barred with slaty-brown; the bars, everywhere narrow, being nearly obsolete in the centre of the abdomen, an d best marked on the flanks; the under wing-coverts were of a pale salmon color, conspicuously barred with brown.

The Red-headed Falcon or Lanner has only been recorded from Sind. With regard to its nidification nothing certain seems to be known, but Mr. Hume had reason to believe that it bred in the Peshawar Valley and in Cashmere.

Handbook to the Birds of the Bombay Presidency
Barnes, Henry Edwin. Handbook to the birds of the Bombay Presidency, 1885.
Title in Book: 
Falco babylonicus
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Barnes, H. Edwin
Page No: 
Common name: 
Red Cap Falcon
Falco pelegrinoides babylonicus

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