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Taita Falcon
Falco fasciinucha

Status: Near Threatened

Population Trend: Unknown.

Other Names: Teita Falcon.

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Falco fasciinucha
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Distribution: Afrotropical. Mountains of eastern Africa from ETHIOPIA (formerly) south through East Africa to ZAMBIA, ZIMBABWE, and northern SOUTH AFRICA. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: May form a superspecies with F. severus, but relationships with other Falco species are not readily apparent.

Movements: Non-migratory (Bildstein and Zalles 2005), although juveniles may wander to some extent (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2006), generally only a few kilometers from their nesting areas (Dowsett et al. 2008).

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in the vicinity of large cliffs, gorges, or inselbergs, frequently in areas of Mopane woodland or miombo in Zimbabwe. Usually occurs in pairs. Perches on rocks and also in the upper branches of trees. more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds on bats and small birds, e.g., swifts, bulbuls, and queleas, which it captures on the wing, usually after a fast dive. Also feeds on insects, including beetles and termites, which are seized in the claws and transferred to the bill in flight. Both butterfly and avian prey are taken to a "plucking site" for dismemberment (Clancey 1985). more....

Breeding: Nests on sheltered bare rock ledges, in potholes on high sheer cliffs, or in steep gorges. Competition with the larger peregrine may force this species to nest in less optimal sites (Hartley et al. 1993). Clutch size is 3-4 eggs, which are oval in shape and pale buffy in color with spots and blotches of yellowish-brown (Colebrook-Robjent 1977). The pair shares incubation duties, although the female contributes more, and both parents brood and feed the young. more....

Conservation: Rare and patchily distributed throughout its fairly large range, and the documented world population is less than 40-50 breeding pairs. It is considered to be the rarest breeding bird in South Africa (A. Botha). The Taita Falcon seems to have suffered some sort of general decline throughout much its range in recent years (Thomsett 2006). It is vulnerable to DDE eggshell thinning, habitat loss from dam building projects, illegal collection and trade, human disturbance of nest sites, and competition for nest sites by the larger Lanner and Peregrine Falcons. BirdLife International categorizes the Taita Falcon as "Near Threatened," but its scarcity throughout its range suggests that Vulnerable may be a more appropriate category. more....

Population Estimates: Cade (1982)thought that the global population of Taita Falcons "may well number only a few hundred birds," and based on subsequent surveys in several countries within its breeding range, this assessment still seems valid. Ferguson-Lees and Christie felt that the population was likely to be in four figures, based on the extent of its range (~ 0.5 million km²) and the lack of surveys in many potentially suitable areas. more....

Important References: 
Brown, L.H., E.K. Urban, and K. Newman. 1982. The birds of Africa. Vol. 1.
  Academic Press, London.
Cade, T.J. 1982. Falcons of the world. Cornell University Press, Ithaca,
Colebrook-Robjent, J.F.R. 1977. The eggs of the Teita Falcon Falco
. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 97:44-46.
Dowsett, R.J. 1983. Breeding and other observations on the Taita Falcon
  Falco fasciinucha. Ibis 125:362-366.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Hartley, R. 1994. Growth and development of captive Taita Falcons in
  Zimbabwe from nestling to adult. Gabar 9:14-19.
Hartley, R.R. 2000. Ecology of Taita Falco fasciinucha, Peregrine F.
  peregrinus minor
and Lanner F. biarmicus Falcons in Zimbabwe. Pp. 87-105 in
  R.D. Chancellor and B.-U. Meyburg (eds.), Raptors at risk. World Working
  Group on Birds of Prey, Berlin, and Hancock House, Blaine, WA.
Hartley, R.R., G. Bodington, A.S. Dunkley, and A. Groenewald. 1993. Notes
  on the breeding biology, hunting behavior, and ecology of the Taita Falcon
  in Zimbabwe. Journal of Raptor Research 27:133-142.
Hustler, K. 1990. The ecological relationship of Taita and Peregrine
  Falcons. Honeyguide 35:158-160.
Jenkins, A.R., and R.R. Hartley. 2005. Peregrine Falcon. In Hockey,
  P.A.R., W.R.J. Dean, and P.G. Ryan (eds.), Roberts birds of southern Africa.
  7th ed. John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, South Africa.
Kemp, A.C. 1994. Teita Falcon. P. 275 in del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, and J.
  Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New World vultures
  to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona,Spain.
Möller, P. 1989. The Taita Falcon Falco fasciinucha: results of a study at
  Mt. Elgon. Pp. 315-319 in B.-U. Meyburg and R.D. Chancellor (eds.), Raptors
  in the modern world. World Working Group on Birds of Prey, Berlin.
Steyn, P. 1982. Birds of prey of southern Africa: their identification and
  life histories. David Phillip, Cape Town, South Africa.
Weaver, J., A. Dunkley, and R.R. Hartley. 2002. Taita Falcon surveys in
  the 1980's. Honeyguide 48:175-180.

Deacon, Neil
Jenkins, Andrew
Middleton, Angus
Szabo, John

Last modified: 6/5/2012

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2021. Species account: Taita Falcon Falco fasciinucha. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 27 Sep. 2021

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