All the Different Species of Falcons Found Around the World

Number of falcon species
Falcons are strong birds with hooked beaks, large feet, and curved talons that they use to grab their prey. Let us have a look at the many species of falcons and their distribution.
Did You Know
The Peregrine falcon is the fastest bird in the world, capable of diving at 180 miles per hour.
Falcons belong to the family Falconidae, which also includes the Caracaras, Laughing falcon, Falconets, Pygmy falcon, and Forest falcons. Found all over the world, falcons are swift fliers, and feed on live birds and small terrestrial vertebrates. They fly at higher altitudes, and on spotting a prey below, swoop down at an incredible speed (close to 200 mph) to catch unsuspecting prey. They have a very powerful eyesight, which is 2.6 times stronger than that of humans.

Adult falcons have thin, tapered wings, that enable them to change directions quickly and effortlessly during flight. They are solitary birds, and come together only for mating. Some species are migratory.
Falcon Species Found Around the World
The family Falconidae, to which falcons belong, is a large family that comprises several species of birds. However, in this Buzzle article, we shall focus on the members of the subfamily Falco, which are known as the 'true falcons'. True falcons are further classified under three groups:
  • Falcons
  • Kestrels
  • Hobbies
Falcons
Falcons are the largest and most powerful birds, that belong to the genus Falco, and include bird species like the Peregrine falcon and the Gyrfalcon, the latter being the largest member of the falcon family. Most members of this group are characterized by a gray to brown plumage. The hierofalcons (hawk falcons) comprise a group of four species that are closely related, namely, the Gyrfalcon, Laggar falcon, Lanner falcon, and Saker falcon. Here is the list of all species of birds that fall under this group, along with their distribution and conservation status.
Gyrfalcon
Gyrfalcon
(Falco rusticolus)

Distribution: Islands of North America, Europe, Asia, and the Arctic region.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Peregrine falcon
Peregrine Falcon
(Falco peregrinus)

Distribution: Almost everywhere on the Earth, ranging from the Arctic Tundras to the tropics.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Red footed falcon
Red-footed Falcon
(Falco vespertinus)

Distribution: Eastern Europe and Asia.

Conservation Status: Near Threatened
Brown falcon
Brown Falcon
(Falco berigora)

Distribution: Found in several parts of Australia.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
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Saker falcon
Saker Falcon
(Falco cherrug)

Distribution: Eastern Europe and Asia.

Conservation Status: Vulnerable
Prairie falcon
Prairie Falcon
(Falco mexicanus)

Distribution: Found in western North America.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Lanner falcon
Lanner Falcon
(Falco biarmicus)

Distribution: Africa, southeast Europe, and Asia

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Laggar falcon
Laggar Falcon
(Falco jugger)

Distribution: Found on the Indian subcontinent

Conservation Status: Near Threatened
Sooty falcon
Sooty Falcon
(Falco concolor)

Distribution: Islands and coasts of northeast Africa

Conservation Status: Near Threatened
Merlin falcon
Merlin Falcon
(Falco columbarius)

Distribution: Found in the Northern Hemisphere

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Eleonoras falcon
Eleonora's Falcon
(Falco eleonorae)

Distribution: Islands in the Mediterranean, particularly off Greece. They are also found on the Canary Islands, and off Spain, Italy, Croatia, Morocco, and Algeria.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Red-necked Falcon (Falco chicquera)

Distribution: Found in India and sub-Saharan Africa

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Amur Falcon (Falco amurensis)

Distribution: Found in southeastern Siberia and northern China.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Aplomado Falcon (Falco femoralis)

Distribution: Found in North and South America.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Bat Falcon (Falco rufigularis)

Distribution: Found in Central and South America, as well as in Mexico and Trinidad.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Orange-breasted Falcon (Falco deiroleucus)

Distribution: Found in southern Mexico to northern Argentina.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
New Zealand Falcon (Falco novaeseelandiae)

Distribution: Found in New Zealand.

Conservation Status: Near Threatened
Grey Falcon (Falco hypoleucos)

Distribution: Found in Australia.

Conservation Status: Near Threatened
Black Falcon (Falco subniger)

Distribution: Found in Australia.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Taita Falcon (Falco fasciinucha)

Distribution: Found in Southern Africa.

Conservation Status: Near Threatened
Kestrels
Kestrels are the smallest birds in the falcon family, and feed on small terrestrial vertebrates and invertebrates, such as rodents and reptiles. Here are the species of birds that are classified under this group.
Common kestrel
Common Kestrel
(Falco tinnunculus)

Distribution: North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa

Conservation Status: Least Concern
American kestrel
American Kestrel
(Falco sparverius)

Distribution: North and South America

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Nankeen kestrel
Nankeen Kestrel
(Falco cenchroides)

Distribution: Found only in Australia.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Mauritius kestrel
Mauritius Kestrel
(Falco punctatus)

Distribution: Found only in Mauritius

Conservation Status: Vulnerable
Greater kestrel
Greater Kestrel
(Falco rupicoloides)

Distribution: Found southern and eastern Africa.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Lesser kestrel
Lesser Kestrel
(Falco naumanni)

Distribution: Mediterranean to southern central Asia.

Conservation Status: Vulnerable
Fox Kestrel (Falco alopex)

Distribution: The savanna region south of the Sahara, Ethiopia, and north-west Kenya.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Dickinson's Kestrel (Falco dickinsoni)

Distribution: Southern and eastern Africa

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Madagascar Kestrel (Falco newtoni)

Distribution: Madagascar

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Banded Kestrel (Falco zoniventris)

Distribution: Found in mainland Africa.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Seychelles Kestrel (Falco araea)

Distribution: Found only on the Seychelles Islands.

Conservation Status: Vulnerable
Spotted Kestrel (Falco moluccensis)

Distribution: Found in Australasia and Indomalaya.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Hobbies
The hobbies are slightly larger than the kestrels but smaller than the falcons. This group has four species of birds.
Eurasian hobby
Eurasian Hobby
(Falco subbuteo)

Distribution: Found across Europe and Asia.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
African Hobby (Falco cuvierii)

Distribution: Found in parts of Africa.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Oriental Hobby (Falco severus)

Distribution: Found in the region extending from the eastern Himalayas to southern China. Also found in southern Asia and Australasia.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
Australian Hobby (Falco longipennis)

Distribution: Found in Australia.

Conservation Status: Least Concern
As you can see, there are several species of falcons found all over the world. Destruction of natural habitat has taken many of these species to the verge of extinction. We should create awareness and do whatever we can to save these beautiful, yet ferocious birds of prey.
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