Genus FALCO

This genus comprises the typical Falcons,' birds that have, from time immemorial, been trained to hunt and capture various kinds of winged game and even mammals. They have great powers of flight, and are very courageous, most of them readily attacking and overcoming birds of size superior to their own. Their method of attack is to gain a higher position by superior powers of flight, and then to descend, or swoop, on their prey with great rapidity. The blow is always given with the hind claw, never, as represented by some painters, with the bill, and a mallard has been found with its back ripped from end to end by the force of a Peregrine's blow. The attack of a Falcon, which swoops from above, is quite different from that of a Goshawk or Sparrow-Hawk, which attacks from below or by surprise.

The wing in the Peregrine, Shahin, and Barbary Falcons is pointed, the second quill longest, the first exceeding the third; but in F. jugger and F. feldeggi (the Lanner) the first and third quills are subequal, and in F. cherrug and F. milvipes the third is longer than the first. In the Peregrine and its allies the first primary alone has a notch on the inner web, but the second primary is occasionally notched in F. jugger and almost always in F. cherrug. In these characters of the wing the Hobbies resemble the Peregrine.

The bill is stout and strongly toothed inside the hooked tip, often with a blunt festoon behind the tooth ; the nostril is circular with a central tubercle. Tarsus about equal to the middle toe without claw, or a little shorter, the upper part plumed in front, the naked portion covered with small hexagonal scales; the toes very long, covered with transverse scales above ; claws curved and sharp. The tail is of moderate length, well rounded at the end.

Falcons have been variously arranged by different writers. The Hobbies are by some divided off as Hypotriorchis; and Sharpe has placed F. cherrug and F. milvipes with their allies the Gyrfalcons in the genus Hierofalco. I should have followed this arrangement but that F. jugger is exactly intermediate in structure, as it is in plumage, between the Peregrine group and F. cherrug. The genus Falco is found over the greater part of the world, and contains about 30 species, of which 8 are Indian.

Key to the Species.

a. Larger Falcons with ong toes; mid-toe without claw over 1.75 *.
a1. 1st primary longer than the 3rd; upper parts ashy grey in adults.
a2. Cheek-stripe broader than eye; no nuchal collar
a3. Crown dark grey, breast very slightly rufou…………………………..F. peregrinus, p. 413.
b3. Crown blackish, breast generally deep rufous…………………………..F. peregrinator, p. 415.
b2. Cheek-stripe narrow, a buff nuchal collar; head ashy grey or rufous…………………………..F. barbarus, p. 417.
b1. 1st primary subequal to 3rd or shorter; upper parts not ashy grey,
c2. Adults not banded above.
c3. A distinct narrow cheek-stripe; middle tail-feathers entirely brown in adults…………………………..F. jugger, p. 419.
d3. No cheek-stripe; middle tail-feathers usually brown, with white spots on both webs…………………………..F. cherrug, p. 420.
d2. Adults banded with rufous on back, wings, and tail…………………………..F. milvipes, p. 421.
b. Small Falcons with shorter toes; mid-toe without claw not over 1.5.
c1. Breast white or buff with brown streaks…………………………..F. subbuteo, p. 422.
d1. Breast deep rufous, unspotted in adults…………………………..F. severus, p. 423.

BookTitle: 
The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
Reference: 
Blanford, William Thomas, ed. The Fauna of British India: Including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.3 1895.
Title in Book: 
Genus FALCO
Book Author: 
William Thomas Blanford
Year: 
1895
Page No: 
412
M_ID: 
11254
M_SN: 
Falco
Volume: 
Vol. 3
Term name: 
id: 
1766

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