Overview

Distribution

Range Description

Falco chicquera is found across much of South Asia, including Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and into Myanmar. It has also been claimed to occur in south-eastern Iran (del Hoyo et al. 1994) however the species is only known there from one historical record (R. Ayé in litt. 2014). This species is noted to have disappeared from many parts of India, in what is perceived as an overall decline (A. Rahmani in litt. 2011), it is widespread but uncommon in Pakistan, where it has declined since the 1940s in part due to the falconry trade (Roberts 1991), and rare in Bangladesh.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Tends to be found in open country with patches of trees close to water, often in regions of low rainfall (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Frequently nests around villages or even within densely populated cities in India. Recorded generally from sea-level to 1,000 m. Mostly takes small birds caught on the wing and frequently hunts in pairs (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Laying takes place during January-May in India and February-April in Pakistan (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Nomadic in some areas, but mostly resident (del Hoyo et al. 1994).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2014

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S.

Contributor/s
Rahmani, A., Ayé, R., Singh, A., Vyas, V., Baral, H., Inskipp, C. & Subramanya, S.

Justification
This newly-split falcon is suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid population decline over three generations owing to the effects of ongoing habitat degradation. It is therefore classified as Near Threatened.
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Population

Population
The population is estimated to number in the tens of thousands.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The species was probably naturally sparsely distributed and requiring large territories. Rapid urbanisation and development may be the main cause of declines in parts of the range, for example around Bangalore city, where the population dwindled from five breeding pairs prior to the mid 1990s to only sporadic recent sightings, presumably due to the conversion of habitat within their territories into densely packed bustling residential/built-up areas (S. Subramanya in litt. 2014). In Nepal there has been a sharp reduction in abundance in the Kathmandu Valley, from being very common in the 19th century to absent over at least the last 25 years. The cause of this decline is uncertain but may relate to widespread and intensive pesticide use (H. Baral and C. Inskipp in litt. 2014). At least historically, capture for the falconry trade may have posed an additional threat (Roberts 1991).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation and research actions underway
No targeted actions are known.

Conservation and research actions proposed
Continue to carry out regular surveys to monitor population trends. Conduct further research into the effects of changes in urban areas, agricultural land and land management. Prevent capture for trade in problem areas through law enforcement, prosecution and awareness campaigns.
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Wikipedia

Red-necked falcon

The red-necked falcon or red-headed merlin (Falco chicquera) is a bird of prey in the falcon family. This bird is a widespread resident in India and adjacent regions as well as sub-Saharan Africa. It is sometimes called turumti locally.

The red-necked falcon is a medium-sized, long-winged species with a bright rufous crown and nape. It is on average 30–36 cm in length with a wingspan of 85 cm. The sexes are similar except in size: males are smaller than females as is usual in falcons. Young birds are buff below with less extensive barring and duller upper plumage.

The adult of the African subspecies Falco chicquera ruficollis has a white face apart from black moustachial stripes. The upperparts are pale grey, with black primary wing feathers and tail tip. The underparts are white with dark barring on the underwings, lower breast, belly and undertail. There is a buff foreneck band. The legs and eyering are yellow. The voice of this species is a shrill kek-kek-kek.

West African males are known to weigh between 139 and 178 grams, while females are found between 190 and 305 grams. The particularly large African birds from south of the Zambezi River are often separated as subspecies Falco chicquera horsbrughi, but the size variation may be clinal and the latter subspecies not valid.

The Asian nominate subspecies Falco chicquera chicquera has rufous moustachial stripes, lacks the buff breast band, and is less extensively barred than the African subspecies.

The red-necked falcon is of unclear relationships. While it is sometimes allied with the merlin or the African hobby, this is most probably not correct. It might actually be distantly related to the peregrine falcon but much more study is needed to resolve this problem. In any case, the African and Indian forms are very distinct and have probably been separated for a long time; they might be considered distinct species.[2]

The red-necked falcon is found in semi-desert, savannah and other dry open country with some trees, but also riverine forest. It often perches hidden in the crown of a Borassus palm (Borassus aethiopium), and chases birds, bats and large insects with a fast dashing flight. It is most active at dawn and dusk, hunting below the tree canopy. It often hunts in pairs, sometimes utilizing a technique in which one of the pair flies low and flushes up small birds while the other follows higher up and seizes the prey as it rises from cover.

This falcon reuses the old tree nests of corvids, or lays its 3-5 eggs in the debris in the crown of a palm tree.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Falco chicquera". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Wink et al. (1998), Wink & Saurer-Gürth (2000)

References[edit]

  • Barlow, Clive (1997): A field guide to birds of The Gambia and Senegal. Pica Press, Nr. Robertsbridge (East Sussex). ISBN 1-873403-32-1
  • Grimmett, Richard; Inskipp, Carol, Inskipp, Tim & Byers, Clive (1999): Birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J.. ISBN 0-691-04910-6
  • Kemp, Alan C.; Kemp, Meg & Hayman, Peter (2001): Birds of Prey of Africa and its Islands. Struik, Cape Town. ISBN 1-86872-732-7
  • Wink, Michael & Sauer-Gürth, Hedi (2000): Advances in the molecular systematics of African raptors. In: Chancellor, R.D. & Meyburg, B.-U. (eds): Raptors at Risk: 135-147. WWGBP/Hancock House, Berlin/Blaine. PDF fulltext
  • Wink, Michael; Seibold, I.; Lotfikhah, F. & Bednarek, W. (1998): Molecular systematics of holarctic raptors (Order Falconiformes). In: Chancellor, R.D., Meyburg, B.-U. & Ferrero, J.J. (eds.): Holarctic Birds of Prey: 29-48. Adenex & WWGBP. PDF fulltext
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