The aplomado falcon (Falco femoralis) is a medium-sized falcon of the Americas. The species' largest contiguous range is in South America, but not in the deep interior Amazon Basin. It was long known as Falco fusco-coerulescens or Falco fuscocaerulescens, but these names are now believed to refer to the bat falcon (F. rufigularis). Its resemblance in shape to the hobbies accounts for its old name orange-chested hobby. Aplomado is an unusual Spanish word for "lead-colored", referring to the blue-grey areas of the plumage – an approximate English translation would be "plumbeous falcon". Spanish names for the species include halcón aplomado and halcón fajado (roughly "banded falcon" in reference to the characteristic pattern); in Brazil it is known as falcão-de-coleira.
The aplomado falcon is very slender, long-winged, and long-tailed, the size of a small peregrine falcon (F. peregrinus), at 12–16 in (30–40 cm) long and with an average wingspan of about 36 in (90 cm), but only half the weight, at about 7.3–10.8 oz (208–305 g) in males and 9.6–16 oz (271–460 g) in females. In adult birds, the upperparts are dark blue-grey, as is much of the head, with the usual falcon "moustache" contrasting sharply with the white throat and eyestripe. The upper breast continues the white of the throat; there are black patches on each side of the lower breast that meet in the middle; the belly and thighs, below the black patches, are light cinnamon. The tail is black with narrow white or grey bars and a white tip. The cere, eye-ring, and feet are yellow or yellow-orange.
Except that females are bigger than males, the sexes are similar. Juvenile birds are very similar to adults, but their upperparts and belly band are blackish brown, the chest is streaked with black, the white on the head and breast is buffy, and the cinnamon on the underparts is paler, as are the feet.
This species may be confused with the bat falcon (F. rufigularis) and the orange-breasted falcon (F. deiroleucus), which have similar white-black-rust patterns below, but those species are built more like peregrine falcons and have solidly blackish heads and darker rufous bellies. These two species are generally considered to belong to the same lineage as the aplomado falcon. Two other Falco species of the Americas, merlin (F. columbarius) and American kestrel (F. sparverius), seem to be closer to the Aplomado group than most other falcons, but the relationships of all these lineages are fairly enigmatic. All that can be said with some certainty is that they diverged as part of an apparently largely western Holarctic radiation in the Late Miocene, probably around .
The aplomado falcon's habitat is dry grasslands, savannahs, and marshes. It ranges from northern Mexico and Trinidad locally to southern South America, but has been extirpated from many places in its range, including all of northern and central Mexico except for a small area of Chihuahua. Globally, however, it is so widespread that it is assessed as Species of Least Concern by the IUCN.
It feeds on large invertebrates and small vertebrates, with small birds making up the overwhelming bulk of its prey. Mixed-species feeding flocks in open cerrado and grassland will go on frenzied alert upon spotting this species; small birds fear it more than most other predators. It is often seen soaring at twilight hunting insects and eating them on the wing. It also hunts at fields being burned, at which many birds of this species may gather; cooperation between individual aplomado falcons – usually members of a pair – has also been recorded. In Brazil, aplomado falcons have been observed following maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) and chasing birds that the wolves flush. Prey items typically weigh one-fifth to one-half of the falcons' own weight, but females of this species (which due to their size can tackle larger prey) have been recorded eating birds larger than themselves, such as a cattle egret (Bulbucus ibis) or a plain chachalaca (Ortalis vetula), on rare occasions.
The nest is a platform built of sticks at any height in a bush or tree. Two or three eggs are laid.
Until the 1950s it was found in the extreme southwestern United States, and reintroduction efforts are under way in West and South Texas. It began to reoccupy its former range in West Texas and southern New Mexico in the 1990s. Documentary evidence for these naturally occurring birds was obtained in New Mexico in 1991, and sightings built steadily through that decade and the next, leading to successful fledging of three young in 2002. Sightings and nesting activity continue to the present. The addition of nesting platforms to areas where Northern Aplomado Falcons Falco femoralis septentrionalis were reintroduced in South Texas improved the birds' productivity. This resulted in a stable population, however without the addition of nest platforms the re-introduced population would likely decline to extinction.
The expansion of the reintroduction program to that area has met with criticism, because technically, all aplomado falcons in New Mexico are classified as part of the "experimental" (reintroduction) population. As such, while they are still legally protected from hunting, they are not protected by Endangered Species Act requirements to preserve habitat and the like. It is believed that mainly habitat destruction caused the species' (near-)disappearance from the US and hinders reestablishment of a wild breeding population. A coalition of environmental groups is attempting to have full protection restored so as not to jeopardize the success of the expanding wild population and the reintroduction efforts. A published paper  describes the mixed success of the reintroduction program, carried out by The Peregrine Fund. Reintroduced birds are now breeding on the Texas coast. But in the Chihuahuan Desert locations of west Texas and southern New Mexico, the birds were never successful for an extended period of time, and The Peregrine Fund has now abandoned the reintroduction program.
Similar to the merlin, the aplomado falcon will chase after game such as small birds and quail, by pursuit flight, which is flying after quarry flushed out. It is mainly acquired from breeders because of its scarcity in the United States, and many falconers in Europe will buy a pair for about £4000. It's admired for its accipiter-like hunting style, which has made the bird famous for being more like an accipiter than a falcon. This is also shown through its determination to catch the quarry even going into heavy cover. They are ideal for quail, doves, and will sometimes even go after squirrel or rabbits. Unfortunately, these birds are also known for carrying their game, like many small falcons, where they try fly away from the falconer with their catch. The range of quarry vary from sparrows to adult pheasants. One of the most difficult quarry for the aplomado is the partridge because of its strength, speed and flight distance.
Articles on hunting with aplomado falcons as well as basic research on this species can be found at www.aplomadofalcons.com
American falconer Jim Nelson has written, "During the time of Shakespeare a new bird from the New World came upon the falconry scene in Spain, Portugal and France. It was known to courtiers of Henry IV and Louis XIII as the Alethe... prized as "high mettled" partridge hawks...french falconer Charles d'Arcussia is the only writer who actually saw game taken with trained Alethes." Nelson concluded that the true identity of the Old World Alethe is the modern day aplomado falcon.
An avivore is a specialized predator of birds, with birds making up a large proportion of its diet. Such bird-eating animals come from a range of groups.Bat falcon
The bat falcon (Falco rufigularis) is a falcon that is a resident breeder in tropical Mexico, Central and South America, and Trinidad. It was long known as Falco albigularis; the names Falco fusco-coerulescens or Falco fuscocaerulescens, long used for the aplomado falcon, are now believed to refer to the present species.The female bat falcon, at 30.5 cm length, is much larger than the 23-cm-long male. Adults have a black back, head, and tail. The throat, upper breast, and neck sides are creamy white, the lower breast and belly are black, finely barred white, and the thighs and lower belly are orange. Young birds are similar, but with a buffy throat. The call of this species is a high pitched ke-ke-ke like the American kestrel.
It is probably closely related to and looks like a small version of the orange-breasted falcon. These two, in turn, are probably closest to the aplomado falcon and constitute a rather old American lineage of Falco species.This small dark bird of prey inhabits open woodlands and forest clearings. Bat falcons perch conspicuously on high, open snags, from which they launch aerial attacks on their prey. They hunt bats, birds, and large insects such as dragonflies. The smaller male takes more insects, and the female more birds and bats. The flight is direct and powerful. This falcon is partly crepuscular, as the bats in its diet suggest. It lays two or three brown eggs in an unlined treehole nest.Chacamarca Historic Sanctuary
Chacamarca Historic Sanctuary (Spanish: Santuario Histórico de Chacamarca), is a historical site in Junín Province, Junín, Peru. The sanctuary protects the site of the Battle of Junín and archaeological remains of the Pumpush culture.Falcon
Falcons () are birds of prey in the genus Falco, which includes about 40 species. Falcons are widely distributed on all continents of the world except Antarctica, though closely-related raptors did occur there in the Eocene.Adult falcons have thin, tapered wings, which enable them to fly at high speed and change direction rapidly. Fledgling falcons, in their first year of flying, have longer flight feathers, which make their configuration more like that of a general-purpose bird such as a broad-wing. This makes flying easier while learning the exceptional skills required to be effective hunters as adults. There are many different types of falcon.
The falcons are the largest genus in the Falconinae subfamily of Falconidae, which itself also includes another subfamily comprising caracaras and a few other species. All these birds kill with their beaks, using a "tooth" on the side of their beaks—unlike the hawks, eagles, and other birds of prey in the Accipitridae, which use their feet.
The largest falcon is the gyrfalcon at up to 65 cm in length. The smallest falcons are the kestrels, of which the Seychelles kestrel measures just 25 cm. As with hawks and owls, falcons exhibit sexual dimorphism, with the females typically larger than the males, thus allowing a wider range of prey species.Some small falcons with long, narrow wings are called "hobbies" and some which hover while hunting are called "kestrels".As is the case with many birds of prey, falcons have exceptional powers of vision; the visual acuity of one species has been measured at 2.6 times that of a normal human. Peregrine falcons have been recorded diving at speeds of 200 miles per hour (320 km/h), making them the fastest-moving creatures on Earth. The fastest recorded dive for one is 390 km/h.Guayanan Highlands moist forests
The Guayanan Highlands moist forests (NT0124) is an ecoregion in the south of Venezuela and the north of Brazil and in Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana. It is in the Amazon biome.
It encompasses an upland region with diverse fauna and flora, which contains dramatic tepuis, or sandstone table mountains.
The region has been inaccessible in the past and is generally fairly intact, apart from the north and northeast where large scale agriculture, ranching and mining operations are steadily encroaching on the ecosystem. New roads are opening the interior to logging, and planned dams will have a drastic impact on the riparian zones.Hawkwatching
Hawkwatching (sometimes referred to as hawkcounting) is a mainly citizen science activity where experienced volunteers count migratory raptors (birds of prey) in an effort to survey migratory numbers. Groups of hawkwatchers often congregate along well-known migratory routes, such as mountain ridges, coastlines, and land bridges, where raptors ride on updrafts created by the topography. Hawkwatches are often formally or informally organized under the guise of a non-profit organization, such as an Audubon chapter, state park, wildlife refuge or other important birding area. Some hawkwatches remain independent of any organizing structure and simply count hawks independently.
Regardless of their organization and structure, most hawkwatchers post their count numbers each day to hawkcount.org, a non-profit website that serves as the primary outlet for hawkwatching data. Other platforms such as eBird are also used, but usually include other types of birds.Kestrel
The name kestrel (from French crécerelle, derivative from crécelle, i.e. ratchet) is given to several members of the falcon genus, Falco. Kestrels are most easily distinguished by their typical hunting behaviour which is to hover at a height of around 10–20 metres (35–65 ft) over open country and swoop down on prey, usually small mammals, lizards or large insects. Other falcons are more adapted to active hunting in flight. Kestrels are notable for usually having mostly brown in their plumage.List of birds of North America (Falconiformes)
The birds listed below all belong to the biological order Falconiformes, and are native to North America.Merlin (bird)
The merlin (Falco columbarius) is a small species of falcon from the Northern Hemisphere, with numerous subspecies throughout North America and Eurasia. A bird of prey once known colloquially as a pigeon hawk in North America, the merlin breeds in the northern Holarctic; some migrate to subtropical and northern tropical regions in winter. Males typically have wingspans of 53–58 centimetres (21–23 in), with females being slightly larger. They are swift fliers and skilled hunters who specialize in preying on small birds in the size range of sparrows to quail. The merlin has for centuries been well regarded as a falconry bird. In recent decades merlin populations in North America have been significantly increasing, with some merlins becoming so well adapted to city life that they forgo migration.New Zealand falcon
The New Zealand falcon or kārearea in Māori (Falco novaeseelandiae) is New Zealand's only falcon. Other common names for the bird are bush hawk and sparrow hawk. It is frequently mistaken for the larger and more common swamp harrier. It is the country's most threatened bird of prey, with only around 3000–5000 breeding pairs remaining.Orange-breasted falcon
The orange-breasted falcon (Falco deiroleucus) is a bird of the falcon family. It is probably closely related to and looks like a larger version of the bat falcon. These two, in turn, are probably closest to the aplomado falcon and constitute a rather old American lineage of Falco.It is found from southern Mexico to northern Argentina. It's a medium-sized falcon at 35–40 cm (14–15.5 in) long and a weight of 325–700 grams (11 ounces–1 pound 9 ounces). It is a bird predator, with strong talons that enable it to catch prey in flight, and is considered by some – such as the German-Brazilian ornithologist Helmut Sick – as filling the ecological niche of the peregrine falcon as a breeding species in tropical America. The orange-breasted falcon, however, seems to favor more heavily wooded habitats than the peregrine, therefore the species does not seem to be in ecological competition with peregrine falcons wintering or breeding in South America. Living in the predominately tropical climates of Guatemala and Belize, these birds use the humidity of their niche to their advantage. The orange-breasted falcon purposely crashed into leaves of trees with water gathered on them as a form of bathing. The orange-breasted falcon has a similar plumage to the much smaller bat falcon and is generally considered most closely related to that species now.Red-footed falcon
The red-footed falcon (Falco vespertinus), formerly western red-footed falcon, is a bird of prey. It belongs to the family Falconidae, the falcons. This bird is found in eastern Europe and Asia although its numbers are dwindling rapidly due to habitat loss and hunting. It is migratory, wintering in Africa. It is a regular wanderer to western Europe, and in August 2004 a red-footed falcon was found in North America for the first time on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.Roadside hawk
The roadside hawk (Rupornis magnirostris) is a relatively small bird of prey found in the Americas. This vocal species is often the most common raptor in its range. It has many subspecies and is now usually placed in the monotypic genus Rupornis instead of Buteo.Snakecharm
Snakecharm is the second book in The Kiesha'ra Series by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. It is narrated by Zane Cobriana, Diente of the serpiente people and alistair to Danica Shardae, Tuuli Thea of the avians. This book relates what happens after Zane and Danica's marriage ends the avian-serpiente war.Sunchubamba Game Reserve
Sunchubamba is a game reserve in the region of Cajamarca, Peru.The Peregrine Fund
The Peregrine Fund is a non-profit organization founded in 1970 that conserves threatened and endangered birds of prey worldwide. The successful recovery in the United States of the peregrine falcon, which was removed from the U.S. Endangered Species List in 1999, enabled the organization to expand its mission to include other endangered raptors around the world. The Peregrine Fund is headquartered at its World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho, on a 580-acre (2.3 km2) campus with breeding and research facilities, an administrative office, interpretive center, research library, and archives.Whistling heron
The whistling heron (Syrigma sibilatrix) is a medium-sized, often terrestrial heron of South America. There are two subspecies, the southern S. s. sibilatrix and the northern S. s. fostersmithi.White-tailed hawk
The white-tailed hawk (Geranoaetus albicaudatus) is a large bird of prey species found in tropical or subtropical environments across the Americas.World Center for Birds of Prey
The World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho, is the headquarters for The Peregrine Fund, an international non-profit organization founded in 1970 that conserves endangered raptors around the world.Built 35 years ago in 1984, the World Center for Birds of Prey is located on 580 acres (2.3 km2) on a hilltop overlooking Boise, south of the airport and east of Kuna. The campus consists of the business offices of The Peregrine Fund, breeding facilities for endangered raptors, the Velma Morrison Interpretive Center, and the Herrick Collections Building, which houses a large research library and the Archives of Falconry.
The Peregrine Fund is known for its worldwide conservation and recovery efforts of rare and endangered raptors. The organization's first recovery effort focused on the peregrine falcon, which was facing extinction due to the widespread use of the chemical DDT. The peregrine falcon was removed from the U.S. Endangered Species list in 1999 at an international celebration held in Boise.