The Aplomado Falcon

 

The Aplomado Falcon

Welcome to my Aplomado Falcon Page. Here you will discover this Charming little Falcon and learn About Flying Falcon Species

  • Aplomado – Falco Femoralis
  • Wingspan - 80-95cm
  • Length - 30 – 40cm
  • Average Weight - 200-500g

Description

This Falcon is a beautiful smallish member of the Falcon Bird Family . It comes from the Americas and enjoys a reasonably large range although it is not a common bird in the wild. Its name (femoralis) is derived from the Spanish meaning which means lead. Although this is a predominantly red falcon, this refers to the colour of the back of the falcon.

The belly is a striking deep Orange and the crop area is usually white. They have the characteristic falcon “tears” which is also blue grey and is thought to stop sunlight reflecting into the eyes when flying falcons are hunting.

Although the aplomado falcon is not a very small bird, the build of this falcon bird species is quite different to some of the other large falcons. Many people have mistaken the aplomado for a bat falcon as their ranges sometimes overlap.

It is true that the two have similar colouration however the build of the two are very different. This is also apparent when comparing the aplomado red Falcon to the Peregrine Falcon , the peregrine is much heavier built with a much wider chest.

The Aplomado Falcon by contrast is a very slender and delicate falcon which has made people think that they are related to our European Hobby which is also of light build and hunts in much the same way.

This small build also means that the Falco Femoralis as a flying falcon is very different in flight style to the other large falcons. They do not have the flat out speed of the peregrine or the Gyr, however they are blessed with a longer tale (which is beautiful and intricate in marking)

...and they are very agile and quick on the wing which makes them perfectly built for pursuit hunting their prey. When they fly they look more like a small accipiter than a falcon. The swooping and speedy style of flight likens these falcons to a Sparrow Hawk and they also have the killer instinct to match.

Aplomado Falcon – Diet

Because the Aplomado is such a specialised flying falcon, much of the prey it catches are birds. In fact about 90 percent are small birds. This species is incredibly intelligent and like the Harris' Hawk , they have managed to use intelligence to overcome many of life’s obstacles.

A good example of this is that Aplomado Falcons regualarly have been recorded following other larger predators and waiting for them to flush the smaller birds and then a pair of Aplomado Falcons will sometimes cooperate in order to up their chances of catching the prey.

Aplomados also eat a lot of large invertebrates. This red falcon will eat flying insects like dragonflies and butterflies which make up a sizeable portion of the diet of these charming little raptors.

Because of their astounding agility, they can cruise around the skies effortlessly snatching insects from the air and eating them on the wing. These falcons don’t often eat mammalian prey and because of their tiny weight and not particularly dominating size I don’t blame them. However occasionally small rodents are caught.

Having said this, females are quite capable of taking birds many times their weight and cattle Egrets are a favourite but don’t succumb without a struggle.

As with all falcons, Aplomados do not have the crushing power in their talons like the buteos, Owl Species , Eagles and True Hawk Birds however they do have a notched beak with which they skilfully are able to dislocate the spine of their adversary.

Reproduction

Aplomados generally keep partners for a long time however quite often the pairing does not work out and a divorce is necessary!

Also the life of a small falcon is very precarious at times and often one of the pair dies prematurely and then the other will always find a new mate, there is not a mourning period to speak of.

A nest is made usually in a relatively tall tree and is made out of twigs and branches. The female will lay 2-3 eggs and the male will do most of the hunting during the short incubation period.

Here is a video about the Aplomado Falcon and it's Conservation.

Aplomado Falcons in Falconry

These wonderful little falcons are really coming to the forefront of the sport and in the last few years have become very popular indeed. Many falconers would love to get their hands on a pair due to these flying falcon’s good natured personalities, intelligence and versatility.

They also offer a whole new flight style in comparison to other falcons of their size. They can be flown from the fist in true accipiter fashion and they will hunt like an accipiter as well. They know no fear and will crash through bushes after quail and partridges and will even wait on overhead to be flown at magpies.

In fact they are the perfect bird for giving the magpies a very hard time indeed and because of their agility and speed they will usually catch them.

On the ground they are well able to deal with magpies, rooks and even small gulls and can be flown at a range of gamebirds as well including partridge, quail and even pheasants.

The tiercel (male) aplomados are even more agile than the females and although they lack the power of the females they are charming to watch and great for flying at smaller birds.

Some of these falcons will even go after Squirrels and Rabbits although this is dangerous and certainly not advised.

Unfortunately (or one could say fortunately) these charming birds are not yet readily available in the UK although a few are bred, this is great for the birds as they are not taken on by inexperienced falconers but it certainly would be nice to see them around more as they really are stunning little falcons.

Please feel free to browse the rest of the site. :) and I hope you have enjoyed my Aplomado Falcon Page