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Tips On Photographing Eleonora's Falcon

Eschenbach share some top tips on photographing Eleonora's falcon.

|  Eschenbach Arena D+ 10x50 B in Animals / Wildlife
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eleonoras falcon

 

The Eleanora’s falcon exists in two different colour morphs and can be found in the Mediterranean where it breeds in large colonies.

 

Appearance

The Eleonora’s Falcon is an elegant, slender falcon with long wings and a long tail. It is about 40 centimetres long with an 85-105 centimetres wingspan. Females are usually larger and heavier than males.

Irrespective of gender, the Eleonora’s Falcon can occur in two colour types: light and dark. These colour types are called morphs. The dark morph is dark brown, almost black while the light morph has a brownish to dark grey top with reddish coloured stomach and thighs. The light morph is somewhat similar to the peregrine falcon although the latter has a more robust look and a shorter tail.

The easiest way to differentiate males from females is by the colour of their cere, the waxy structure covering the base of their beak: orange-yellow in males, blueberry in females.

 

Occurrence

Eleanora’s falcons breed on Mediterranean islands and almost two-thirds of the population breeds in Greece. They can also be found in Cyprus, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Sicily and Sardinia. Some of them also breed on the mainland for example in Morocco, Croatia and Algeria.

At least 70 % of the population spends winter in Madagascar. Around mid-October, they are ready to leave their breeding ground for a 10,000 km trip to the south. Some falcons are just ten weeks old during their first migration but this is not a problem for those excellent flyers.

The Eleanora’s falcon nests on coastal cliffs and is one of the few falcon species to breed in a colony.

 

Behaviour

Eleanora’s falcons breed relatively late, namely until early August. At this time of the year, the smaller migratory birds they hunt are passing through the Mediterranean, providing more than enough food for the Falcons and their chicks. With impressive manoeuvres, they strike and capture smaller birds in flight. They sometimes hunt in a team. The Eleonora’s Falcon is normally active during the day but can also hunt at twilight and even during a full moon night.

Eleanora’s falcon doesn’t build nests but lays its eggs in a small scrape on a cliff ledge. The female incubates the eggs for about a month and is fed by the male. Eleanora’s Falcons have a unique behaviour among bird species. They catch small birds, remove their flight feathers and imprison them in rock crevices to feed them to their young some days later.

The species is named after the Sardinian noblewoman and judge, Eleonor di Arborea (1340-1404). She was the first to legislate protection for a bird species with a law protecting nesting hawks and falcons.

 

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Comments


NeilSchofield Plus
13 1.6k 1 United Kingdom
17 Feb 2018 7:28AM
They will also catch and eat insects on the wing similar to Hobbies which can help with inflight shots

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