Family Falcons, Caracaras (Falconidae)

Least Concern

African Hobby (Falco cuvierii)


French: Faucon de Cuvier German: Afrikanischer Baumfalke Spanish: Alcotán africano

Falco Cuvierii

A. Smith

, 1830,

South Africa


Closely related to F. subbuteo, and sometimes considered conspecific; the two possibly form a group with F. severus and F. longipennis. Monotypic.


Senegambia E to Ethiopia and S, discontinuously, to NC Namibia, Zimbabwe, W Mozambique and adjacent NE South Africa.

Descriptive notes

26–31 cm; male 125–178 g, female 186–224 g; wingspan 60–73 cm. Small dark falcon, darkest on head, with relatively long, slender wings, rich chestnut... read more


Generally silent when not around nest, when gives rapid "kee-kee-kee...", which is used... read more


Moist woodland and tree savanna, including palm savanna and forest edge, occasionally large... read more

Food and feeding

Outside breeding season, mainly insects, especially termite alates, grasshoppers, locusts, beetles and cicadas; when breeding, mainly small... read more


Laying Dec–Apr in W and NE Africa; Dec–Jun in Uganda and W Kenya and Aug–Dec elsewhere in equatorial E Africa; Aug–... read more


Resident as pairs in many areas, but may be locally migratory or perhaps nomadic in response to... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Widespread, but generally uncommon to rare, e.g. in NE Africa, and very scarce in SC Africa, where not even confirmed to... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). African Hobby (Falco cuvierii). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 10 December 2019).