The Eurasian hobby (Falco subbuteo) or just hobby, is a bird of the Falco family and the genus Falco. The body is about 36 cm long and weighs 140-340 grams. Smaller than the Saker falcon, Peregrine falcon, etc., it is a small raptor with dark blue-brown upper body and white lower body with dark stripes. Leg feathers light red. Most individuals are migratory. It mainly feeds on passerine birds such as sparrows and tits, and also eats insects. Breeding in Europe, Northwest Africa, Russia, etc., overwintering in Japan, India, Laos, Myanmar and other places.
What does Eurasian hobby look like
The Eurasian hobby has a body length of about 36 cm, a wingspan of 68-84 cm, and a weight of 140-340 grams. Smaller than Saker Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, etc., it is a small raptor. The beak is shorter than that of hawks, with tooth processes on both sides of the apex, and the base is not covered with cereus or whisker feathers; the nostrils are round, and a columnar bony stick can be seen inward from the nostrils; the wings are long and narrow, and the flapping rhythm is fast ; The tail is slender. The wings are narrow and pointed.
The upper body of the male bird is red brick, with black triangular spots on the back and wings; the top of the head, the back of the neck, and the side of the neck are blue-gray. The flight feathers are nearly black, with off-white feather ends; the tail feathers are blue-gray, with broad black sub-terminal spots, and the feather ends are off-white. The lower body is milky yellow with light brown, with dark brown feathers and rough spots. Mouth base blue-yellow, tip gray. Feet dark yellow.
The upper body of the female bird is dark brown, mixed with dark brown horizontal spots; the top of the head and the back of the neck are light brown, with dark brown feathers; the tail feathers are dark brown, with 9-12 dark brown horizontal spots.
Juvenile birds are similar to female birds, but with heavier longitudinal stripes. The difference from the yellow-clawed falcon is that the tail is round, the body is larger, and it has mustache lines. The male bird has spots on the back, more vertical lines on the lower body, and lighter cheeks.
Easy identification: there are eye spots under the eyes, and dark spots on the back. There are dark spots on the chest. Hover while flying. Female birds are larger than males. Some males and females are the same length. The body is slender. Mouth claws smaller than females.
When the wings are folded, the tips of the wings almost reach the end of the tail feathers, which looks a lot like a swallow, hence the name. The iris is dark brown, the eye area and cere are yellow, the mouth is blue-gray, the tip is black, the feet and toes are yellow, and the claws are black.
Eurasian hobby habitat
Eurasian hobbies are a relatively common species of raptors in China. They inhabit open plains with sparse trees, wilderness, cultivated land, coasts, sparse forests and forest margins, and sometimes near villages, but rarely in dense forests and forests. A bare wasteland without trees. Frequently haunts areas scattered with groves on vast plains, due to a natural zeal for hunting the swampy areas of the insects that frequent these places.
Eurasian hobby living habit
Most individuals of this species are migratory, spending summers in the northern hemisphere and winters in sub-Saharan or Indo-Malayan regions. Western birds overwinter in Africa and others in South Asia. Birds leave their breeding grounds between August and October and start arriving in wintering areas from late October. The return journey begins in March-April, and the breeding grounds are occupied again in May-June. They migrate to the wide fronts of the sea and generally do not concentrate in narrow sea estuaries like many other migratory raptors. In China, most of them form small groups when migrating. They usually move to the breeding grounds in Northeast China in the middle and late April in spring, and leave the breeding grounds from the end of September to the beginning of October.
Birds are usually found alone or in pairs or family groups, even when migrating, with larger groups being rare except in roosts and particularly rich feeding sites. It is mainly diurnal, but its predation is most frequent at dusk, and it is even nocturnal to some extent.
The flight is fast and agile, like lightning, after a brief flapping flight, it then glides and can stay in the air for a short time. When resting, they are mostly on tall trees or on top of utility poles.
This species generally does not descend to the ground, as they place prey on a support when it is caught, or eat it outright while in flight.
Very noisy during breeding season. When near the nest, or to warn of the approach of intruders, the couple constantly chirps loudly. They are much calmer when they land and make a softer sound. When approaching the nest, the male makes a high-pitched call, sometimes singular, sometimes repeated, and the female responds with a hiss. When hunting, they utter a short, piercing, repetitive high-pitched “kick.”
What do Eurasian hobbies eat?
It mainly preys in the air, and can even catch Barn swallows and Swift birds that fly extremely fast. Although it is also active during the day like other falcons, it often flies over fields, forest edges and swamps to prey, and sometimes goes to the ground to prey. It mainly feeds on small passerine birds such as sparrows and Tit birds, occasionally catches bats, and preys on insects such as dragonflies, crickets, locusts, longhorns, scarabs, etc., most of which are pests.
Mode of reproduction
The breeding season is from May to July. After pairing, the male usually holds the food in his mouth, approaches the female in a stilt-walking posture, nods constantly, and spreads his legs apart to reveal the inner feathers, and then gives the food to the female to complete the process. The bowing ceremony between. Then the male bird and the female bird will fly in the air, accompanied by the characteristic monotonous and soft song.
Nests in sparse forests or tall trees in forest margins and fields, usually rarely nests by itself, but invades the nests of Corvus and Eurasian magpie. The height of the nest above the ground is mostly between 10-20 meters. Each clutch lays 2-4 eggs, mostly 3 eggs. Eggs are white with reddish-brown spots. The size of the eggs is 37-43 mm × 30-32 mm, and the hatching is carried out by the parents in turn, but the females are the main ones. The incubation period is 28 days. The chicks are late-born, and they can leave the nest after being raised by the parents for about 28-32 days.