Family Falcons, Caracaras (Falconidae)

Least Concern

Oriental Hobby (Falco severus)


French: Faucon aldrovandin German: Malaienbaumfalke Spanish: Alcotán filipino

Falco severus


, 1821,



Probably closest to F. longipennis, the two perhaps members of the F. subbuteo group (which see). Variation in size and plumage slight and clinal; papuanus darker and on average slightly smaller than nominate, but differences possibly insufficient for racial differentiation. Two subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • F. s. severus Horsfield, 1821 – NW India and Nepal E to S China (Yunnan to SW Guangdong and Hainan), and S through Myanmar, Thailand and Indochina to Java and Philippines; Himalayan birds winter to foothills, in Bangladesh, and in S India and Sri Lanka.
  • F. s. papuanus Meyer & Wiglesworth, 1893 – Sulawesi E through Moluccas to New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago and Solomon Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    24–30 cm; 168–249 g; wingspan 61–69 cm. Small, short-tailed, black-and-rufous falcon; solid rufous underparts separate from other hobbies; female 9% larger... read more


    Generally silent, except around nest. Most frequent call is a fast-repeated “kee-kee-kee...” (c. 5... read more


    Forest with clearings, from mangroves at sea-level to deciduous and evergreen forest in foothills... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, small birds and bats. Hunts from exposed perch on tall tree; when sights prey, launches direct, rapid, strong flight to capture... read more


    Season varies regionally: Apr–Jul in India and Burma; Jun in Java; Mar in Philippines. Stick nest in tree, usually on slope; uses... read more


    Populations of Himalayas migratory, moving moving S to W and SW India for winter; others apparently... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Global population estimate 1000–10,000 individuals. Generally considered rare and local, with populations suspected... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clark, W.S., Boesman, P. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Oriental Hobby (Falco severus). 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 7 December 2019).