Dampier Peninsula, WA

Brown Falcon

A drive up to the Dampier Peninsula about 250km north of Broome, I found myself in the very remote village of Ardyaloon which is an Aboriginal community. I was driving around the town and onto One Arm Road, out to the wonderful beach side area, near their small dirt airport runway.

Apart from the stunning beach, there were Brown Falcon’s everywhere. I just about every fence or tree as far I could see, were these majestic looking birds of prey, just begging to be photographed. It got to the point where I had to stop there were so many, but here are just a few of the many examples I captured.

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Brown Falcon

The brown falcon, scientifically known as Falco berigora, is a medium-sized bird of prey native to Australia. It can be found in coastal regions, grasslands, woodlands, and open habitats throughout most of the continent.

The brown falcon has a moderate size, measuring about 45 to 50 centimetres (18 to 20 inches) in length, with a wingspan ranging from 90 to 105 centimetres (35 to 41 inches). Its plumage is primarily brown, varying in shade from light to dark brown or almost black. The head is small with a distinctive dark eye patch, and in flight, a white patch is visible at the base of its primary flight feathers.

These falcons are adaptable and can inhabit various environments, including grasslands, farmlands, open woodlands, and coastal areas. They are often seen perched on trees, fence posts, or power lines, using these vantage points to spot prey.

Brown falcons are skilled hunters and feed on small to medium-sized prey, such as rodents, small birds, reptiles, insects, and occasionally carrion. They employ a hunting technique called “hovering” where they hover in mid-air, scanning the ground for prey before swooping down to capture it. They are known for their aerial agility and fast, acrobatic flight.

During the spring and summer months, brown falcons breed. They form monogamous pairs, and the female constructs a nest using sticks, lined with softer materials such as leaves or grass. Nests are found in trees, on cliffs, or man-made structures. The female lays 2 to 4 eggs, incubated by both parents for about 30 to 35 days. After hatching, the chicks are cared for by both parents and fledge after approximately 5 to 6 weeks.

The brown falcon is not globally threatened and is categorized as a species of “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Its adaptable nature and ability to thrive in various habitats have contributed to its relatively stable population throughout its range. However, it’s always important to stay updated with the latest information on conservation statuses from relevant organizations and authorities.

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