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Eleonora's Falcon

Eleonora's Falcon
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2016-05-14
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D90, Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/1600 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2016-05-19 2:52
Viewed: 2165
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Back from 15 days on Lesvos, Greece.
Eleonora's Falcon (Falco eleonorae) is a medium-sized falcon. It belongs to the hobby group, a rather close-knit number of similar falcons often considered a subgenus Hypotriorchis. The sooty falcon is sometimes considered its closest relative, but while they certainly belong to the same lineage, they do not seem to be close sister species. Eleonora's falcon is named after Eleonor of Arborea, national heroine of Sardinia.

Eleonora's Falcon is an elegant bird of prey, 3642 cm long with an 87104 cm wingspan. It is shaped like a large Eurasian hobby or a small slender peregrine falcon, with its long pointed wings, long tail and slim body. There are two colour morphs: The adult dark morph is all sooty brown, with black underwing coverts. The light morph is more like a juvenile Eurasian hobby, but has buff underparts, and also shows the contrast between the black underwing coverts and paler base to the flight feathers. Young birds are also like a large juvenile hobby, but the pale underparts contrast with darker wingtips and wing coverts. The call is a typical falcon kek-kek-kek.

Habitat and distribution
This species breeds on islands in the Mediterranean particularly off Greece (where two-thirds of the world's population breeds), but also in the Canary Islands, Ibiza and off Spain, Italy,Croatia, Morocco and Algeria. Tilos Park is the breeding area for 10% of the world population of Eleonora's Falcons. Six hundred and fifty pairs of this species breed on this island according to research conducted by the Hellenic Ornithological Society and the European Union LIFE-Nature program of Tilos. It is rare as a vagrant north of its range.

Migration route
This is a long-distance migrant, wintering in Madagascar. The migration route has been recently discovered and, contrary to previous suggestions, it has been demonstrated by satellite telemetry to be inland through the African continent. Traditionally it has been suggested to be coastal, with birds from the western end of the Mediterranean flying to Suez before flying south down the Red Sea, and across the Horn of Africa. However, recent satellite tracked animals by Spanish and German researchers have demonstrated an inland route through the Sahara Desert, the equatorial rainforests until reaching Kenya and Mozambique. The total distance covered during the flight has reached up to 9,000 km for a single one-way trip.

Feeding and Breeding
It will take large insects, such as dragonflies, which are transferred from talons to beak and eaten in flight. It has also been recently observed catching and imprisoning small birds, removing their flight feathers and feeding them ,sometimes days later, to their young. This is unique among bird species. Occasionally was observed as feeding on bats.
This species has a delayed breeding season, in late summer, because it is a specialist hunter of migrating birds which pass through the Mediterranean islands at this time of year. It captures small birds in flight, using its speed and aerobatic skills. Birds spend much time cruising along coastal cliffs with steady wingbeats watching for tired incoming migrants. During a fieldwork study in Mogador island, Morocco, researchers found that Eleonora's Falcons are imprisoning live prey in rock crevices for later consumption. This falcon is unique in that it is one of the few species that breeds during early autumn, feeding its chicks with other migratory birds that are in abundance that period. It is also one of the few falcon species that creates breeding colonies. It nests on coastal cliffs, laying up to four eggs.

Source: Wikipedia

mamcg, rbassin, Hotelcalifornia, CeltickRanger, pierrefonds, peter_stoeckl has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • mamcg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 333 W: 13 N: 91] (9843)
  • [2016-05-19 6:49]

Nice catch, it is a nice lens for long shots.

c'est une superbe prise en plein vol

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2016-05-19 18:44]

Hello Peter,
What a sleek looking falcon you have captured. I like it's unique wing features which I'm sure is helpful when hunting. Nicely focused while giving us a great look at it's lovely plumage. You even managed to capture a bit of catchlight in it's eye.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2016-05-20 8:29]

Hi Peter,the sharpness isn't the best but still good,not easy to take an in flight pic of a member of falcon family always very fast in the sky...ehehe..well done,interesting note too.Have a nice weekend and thanks,Luciano

Hello Peter,
Nice to hear that you have just visited Greece. Wish we will see more species from there. Beautiful bird you have captured. Natural color and well freeze.
Thanks and have a nice WE,

Hallo Peter
Ik dacht al dat je weg was
En weer wat op de foto gezet?
zal best wel jou kennende
deze is ook weer prachtig met veel details te zien
Gr lou

Ciao Peter, great capture of lovely in-flight Falcon, perfect focus, splendid sharpness, fine details and wonderful natural colors, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

Hello Peter

Excellent shot of this falcon in-flight, with fine POV
and framing, excellent focus, sharpness, and details, TFS


Hi Peter,

The space in front of the bird is indicating movement. The point of view is showing the details of the Eleonora's Falcon. The good luminosity is giving nice tints to the colors. Have a nice day.


  • Great 
  • periko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 70 W: 2 N: 145] (1487)
  • [2016-07-17 18:28]

Hi Peter
I have seen similar falcons in my country, smaller than usual.
Good picture


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