Family Falcons, Caracaras (Falconidae)

Least Concern

Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo)


French: Faucon hobereau German: Baumfalke Spanish: Alcotán europeo
Other common names: Northern Hobby

Falco Subbuteo


, 1758,



Closely related to F. cuvierii, with which sometimes considered conspecific; the two possibly form a group with F. severus and F. longipennis. Geographical variation largely clinal, plumage tending to become progressively paler from N to S, but individual variation also clearly evident; described forms jakutensis (N Eurasia), centralasiae (N Iran to SE Kazakhstan and E through Himalayas) and jugurtha (N Africa E to C China) all regarded as invalid. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • F. s. subbuteo Linnaeus, 1758 – Europe and NW Africa E through Russia, C Asia, N Pakistan, N India, Nepal#R and N China to Kamchatka, Sakhalin and N Japan (Hokkaido); winters in C & S Africa and S & SE Asia.
  • F. s. streichi E. J. O. Hartert & Neumann, 1907 – S & E China S from Qin Ling Mts (S Shaanxi); possibly also N Myanmar and N Indochina.
  • Descriptive notes

    28–36 cm; male 131–232 g, female 141–340 g; wingspan 68–84 cm. Red thighs and undertail-coverts; pale throat and cheeks contrast with densely streaked... read more


    Usually silent except in courtship and late stages of breeding, when gives plaintive, excited... read more


    Open wooded areas: wooded steppes, pastures, cultivation or scrub with clumps of trees, scattered... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly insects, especially flying insects which are eaten on the wing, e.g. dragonflies, beetles, moths, grasshoppers, locusts, crickets,... read more


    Lays late, mainly in Jun–Jul; late May in some S areas. Solitary; uses unoccupied nests of corvids (e.g. crows, magpies) or other... read more


    Mostly migratory, but streichi sedentary; wintering generally rare in Palearctic, e.g.... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Population levels and trends not well known; local fluctuations can be considerable, but overall possibly stable in long... read more

    Recommended citation

    Orta, J., Kirwan, G.M. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo). 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 9 December 2019).