Eurasian hobby

The Eurasian hobby (Falco subbuteo), or just simply hobby, is a small, slim falcon. It belongs to a rather close-knit group of similar falcons often considered a subgenus Hypotriorchis.[2][3][4]

Eurasian hobby
Eurasian Hobby (14574008925) (cropped)
A Eurasian hobby
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Falconiformes
Family: Falconidae
Genus: Falco
F. subbuteo
Binomial name
Falco subbuteo

Taxonomy and systematics

The first formal description of the Eurasian hobby was by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758 in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae under the present binomial name Falco subbuteo.[5] The genus name falco derives from Late Latin falx, falcis, a sickle, referring to the claws of the bird.[6] The species name subbuteo is from Latin sub, "near to" and buteo, " buzzard" .[7] The species' English name comes from Old French hobé or hobet.[8] It became the trademark for the Subbuteo games company after its creator was refused permission to register "Hobby".[9]

Currently two subspecies are recognized:

  • F. s. subbuteo: the nominate race is resident in Africa, Europe and Central and East Asia, winters in Central and South Africa and South Asia
  • F. s. streichi: described by Hartert and Neumann in 1907, is smaller in size and is found further east of F. s. subbuteo's distribution range


Adults are slate-grey above with a dark crown and two short black moustachial stripes. The throat is unstreaked white, thighs and undertail coverts are unstreaked rufous and rest of the underparts are whitish with black streaks. Close views enable the red "trousers" and vent to be seen. Sexes are similar. Juveniles are generally much browner, with scaled upper parts and streaked buffy thighs and undertail coverts.[10]

The hobby has a distinct first-summer plumage.[11]

This falcon is 29–36 cm (11–14 in) in length with a wingspan of 74–84 cm (29–33 in) and a weight of 175–285 g (6.2–10.1 oz).[12]

Falco subbuteo from Kadzidlowo

F. subbuteo from Kadzidlowo

Kobuz (Falco subbuteo)

Juvenile F. subbuteo portrait

Falco subbuteo kobuz1

In flight

Falco subbuteo2

From Taiwan

Distribution and status

This species breeds across Africa, Europe and Asia. It is a long-distance migrant, wintering in Africa and Asia.

Behaviour and ecology

Boomvalk Falco subbuteo Jos Zwarts 2
Drawing by Jos Zwarts

It is a bird of open country such as farmland, marshes, taiga and savannah. They are widespread in lowlands with scattered small woods. It is an elegant bird of prey, appearing sickle-like in flight with its long pointed wings and square tail, often resembling a swift when gliding with folded wings. It is fast and powerful in flight and will take large insects, such as dragonflies, which it transfers from talons to beak and eats while soaring slowly in circles.[13] It also captures small bats[14] and small birds in flight. Its speed and aerobatic skills enable it to take swallows and even swifts on the wing, and barn swallows or house martins have a characteristic "hobby" alarm call. It is known to harass swallows while they are roosting and dispersing from roosts.[10] When not breeding, it is crepuscular, hawking principally in the mornings and evenings. While on migration, they may move in small groups.

Hobbies nest in old nests of crows and other birds. The tree selected is most often one in a hedge or on the extreme edge of a spinney, from where the bird can observe intruders from a considerable distance. It lays 2–4 eggs. Incubation is said to take 28 days and both parents share in this duty, though the female does the greater part.[15]

It is a very bold and courageous bird and was used in falconry, trained to hawk birds like quails, larks, hoopoes, drongos, etc.[16]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2013). "Falco subbuteo". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Helbig, A.J.; Seibold, I.; Bednarek, W.; Brüning, H.; Gaucher, P.; Ristow, D.; Scharlau, W.; Schmidl, D.; Wink, Michael (1994). Meyburg, B.-U.; Chancellor, R.D. (eds.). Phylogenetic relationships among falcon species (genus Falco) according to DNA sequence variation of the cytochrome b gene (PDF). Raptor conservation today. pp. 593–599.
  3. ^ Wink, Michael; Seibold, I.; Lotfikhah, F.; Bednarek, W. (1998). Chancellor, R.D.; Meyburg, B.-U.; Ferrero, J.J. (eds.). Molecular systematics of holarctic raptors (Order Falconiformes) (PDF). Holarctic Birds of Prey. Adenex & WWGBP. pp. 29–48.
  4. ^ Nittinger, F.; Haring, E.; Pinsker, W.; Wink, Michael; Gamauf, A. (2005). "Out of Africa? Phylogenetic relationships between Falco biarmicus and other hierofalcons (Aves Falconidae)" (PDF). Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 43 (4): 321–331. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0469.2005.00326.x.
  5. ^ Linnaeus, C. (1758). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata (in Latin). holmiae (Stockholm): Laurentii Salvii. p. 89. F. cera pedibusque flavis, dorso fusco, nucha alba abdomine pallido maculis oblongis fuseis.
  6. ^ Shorter Oxford English dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2007. p. 3804. ISBN 0199206872.
  7. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 266, 369. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  8. ^ "Hobby". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  9. ^ Hodkinson, Mark. Table-topping star of the big flick-off: Uncovering the bizarre playboy lifestyle of Subbuteo’s inventor. The Times, 16 October 2006. Retrieved on 2007-08-12.
  10. ^ a b Rasmussen, P.C.; Anderton, J.C. (2005). Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Volume 2. Smithsonian Institution & Lynx Edicions. pp. 114–115. ISBN 978-8496553859.
  11. ^ small, Brian (1992). "First-summer Hobbies in the New forest" (PDF). British Birds. 85 (5): 251–255.
  12. ^ Jais, Markus. "Eurasian hobby, Falco subbuteo". Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  13. ^ Butler, E.A. (1875). "Notes on the Avifauna of Mount Aboo and northern Guzerat". Stray feathers. 3: 443–444.
  14. ^ Mikula, P.; Morelli, F.; Lučan, R. K.; Jones, D. N.; Tryjanowski, P. (2016). "Bats as prey of diurnal birds: a global perspective". Mammal Review. doi:10.1111/mam.12060.
  15. ^ Baker, E.C.S. (1928). Fauna of British India. Birds. Volume 5 (2nd ed.). London: Taylor and Francis. pp. 41–45.
  16. ^ Jerdon, T.C. (1864). The birds of India. Volume 1. George Wyman and Co, Calcutta. pp. 34–35.

External links

Caryospora (alveolate)

Caryospora is a genus of parasitic protozoa in the phylum Apicomplexa. The species in this genus infect birds and reptiles with the majority of described species infecting snakes. It is the third largest genus in the family Eimeriidae.

Despite the number of species in this genus, it has not been much studied.

Castle Bottom NNR

Castle Bottom is a British national nature reserve located near Yateley in Hampshire. The reserve is a designated a Special Protection Area (SPA) and is an example of a Thames Basin Heath. The site is owned by Hampshire County Council

Common house martin

The common house martin (Delichon urbicum), sometimes called the northern house martin or, particularly in Europe, just house martin, is a migratory passerine bird of the swallow family which breeds in Europe, north Africa and temperate Asia; and winters in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical Asia. It feeds on insects which are caught in flight, and it migrates to climates where flying insects are plentiful. It has a blue head and upperparts, white rump and pure white underparts, and is found in both open country and near human habitation. It is similar in appearance to the two other martin species of the genus Delichon, which are both endemic to eastern and southern Asia. It has two accepted subspecies.

Both the scientific and colloquial name of the bird are related to its use of human-made structures. It builds a closed cup nest from mud pellets under eaves or similar locations on buildings usually in colonies.

It is hunted by the Eurasian hobby (Falco subbuteo), and like other birds is affected by internal parasites and external fleas and mites, although its large range and population mean that it is not threatened globally.

East Devon Pebblebed Heaths

The East Devon Pebblebed Heaths (grid reference SY050880) is an area of rare lowland heath in east Devon, England. Lying inland of the coastal towns of Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton, it forms a north-south ridge on the western side of the River Otter at heights above sea level varying between 70 and 150 m. The main area, to the south, consists of the contiguous East Budleigh Common, Lympstone Common, Bicton Common, Woodbury Common and Colaton Raleigh Common; to the north are Hawkerland Valley, Harpford Common, Aylesbeare Common and Venn Ottery Common; and there are a few smaller nearby areas.The area forms part of the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (listed since 1952), a Special Protected Area, and a Special Area of Conservation. The majority of the 1,124.4 hectares (2,778 acres) of the heath is managed with joint financial input from Clinton Devon Estates, government grants and the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust, which employs full-time wardens and volunteers to look after the terrain. The Estate opened the heathland to public access "for air and exercise" following a legal deed it signed in 1930.The underlying geology of the area is mostly Bunter Pebblebeds of Triassic age, though there is some New Red Sandstone and marls of Permian age.Notable breeding bird species that have been recorded on the site include the European nightjar, Eurasian hobby and Dartford warbler. Rare dragonflies include the small red damselfly, the southern damselfly and the downy emerald. Other insects recorded include the bog bush cricket. Annual wildlife surveys are carried with groups such as the Devon Amphibian and Reptile Group (DRAG), the Devon Bat Group, Butterfly Conservation, the Devon Wildlife Trust and the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre helping coordinate the work.

Edgbarrow Woods

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Eleonora's falcon

Eleonora's falcon (Falco eleonorae) is a medium-sized falcon. It belongs to the hobby group, a rather close-knit number of similar falcons often considered a subgenus Hypotriorchis. The sooty falcon is sometimes considered its closest relative, but while they certainly belong to the same lineage, they do not seem to be close sister species. The English name and the species name eleanorae commemorate Eleanor of Arborea, Queen (Juighissa) and national heroine of Sardinia, who in 1392, under the jurisdiction conferred by the Carta de Logu, became the first ruler in history to grant protection to hawk and falcon nests against illegal hunters. The genus name falco is from Late Latin falx, falcis, a sickle, referring to the claws of the bird.

Fastest animals

This is a list of the fastest animals in the world, grouped by types of animal.

Hobby (bird)

A hobby is a fairly small, very swift falcon with long, narrow wings. There are four birds called "hobby", and some others which, although termed "falcon", are very similar. All specialise in being superb aerialists. Although they take prey on the ground if the opportunity presents itself, most prey is caught on the wing; insects are often caught by hawking, and many different birds are caught in flight, where even the quick maneuvering swifts and swallows cannot escape a hobby.

The typical hobbies are traditionally considered a subgenus, Hypotriorchis, due to their similar morphology; they have ample amounts of dark slaty grey in their plumage; the malar area is black; and the underside usually has lengthwise black streaks. The tails are all-dark or have only slight bands.Monophyly of Hypotriorchis is supported by DNA sequence data, though the exact limits of the group are still uncertain. The hobbies seem to be one of the Falco lineages which emerged around the Miocene-Pliocene boundary some 8-5 million years ago and subsequently radiated - in this case throughout the Old World. Their relationship to the peregrine falcon group and the kestrels is not well resolved, however; taxa such as the red-footed falcon appear in some respects intermediate between the kestrels and the typical hobbies.

Eurasian hobby (F. subbuteo), also known as the northern hobby

African hobby (F. cuvierii)

Oriental hobby (F. severus)

Australian hobby or little falcon (F. longipennis), uncommon but widespread in Australia, during the southern winter, some birds migrate to the north of the continent or to the islands of Southeast Asia

Sooty falcon (F. concolor) of the North African desert

Eleonora's falcon (F. eleonorae) occupies the Mediterranean area during the northern summer, and migrates south to Madagascar for the southern summer.These species are tentatively placed here:

New Zealand falcon or kārearea (F. novaeseelandiae).

Brown falcon (F. berigora)

Taita falcon (F. fasciinucha)

Hobby School

Hobby School (Mongolian: Хобби Сургууль) is a K-12 private school in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It was founded in 1994 with a view to nurture a generation of Mongolian intelligentsia. Hobby School is one of only few bilingual schools in Ulaanbaatar with complete English language immersion. The school is known with its high end academic achievements. More than 80% of its graduates being enrolled into higher educational institutions with full and/or partial scholarships all over the world. The school's debate club is the only of its kind in Mongolia. The school is named after the Eurasian hobby falcon.

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Due to poorness of native avifauna, some people (especially resort owners) deliberately release non-native birds.

Some of them, like red lory and budgerigar are established in wild, but are not included in official checklists.

This can't pose threat to native ecosystems because Maldives have no endemic birds and all native land birds are common in India and Bangladesh also.

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SZD-21 Kobuz

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Sandhurst to Owlsmoor Bogs and Heaths

Sandhurst to Owlsmoor Bogs and Heaths is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) based in Berkshire between Crowthorne, Owlsmoor, Little Sandhurst and Sandhurst. Part of the site is a nature reserve called Wildmoor Heath which is managed by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Naturalists Trust.


Subbuteo ( sub-(Y)OO-tee-oh) is a group of table top games simulating team sports such as association football, cricket, both codes of rugby and hockey. The name is most closely associated with the football game, which for many years was marketed as "the replica of Association Football" or Table Soccer.

The "Subbuteo" name derives from the neo-Latin scientific name Falco subbuteo (a bird of prey commonly known as the Eurasian hobby), after a trademark was not granted to its creator Peter Adolph (1916–1994) to call the game "Hobby".

Wraysbury No 1 Gravel Pit

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Łysica [ˈwɨˈɕit͡sa] is the highest mountain in Świętokrzyskie Mountains of Poland. Its height is 612 metres (2,008 ft). It is located in the Świętokrzyski National Park and there is an abbey below it, on a site that might have been a pagan temple before the times of baptism of Poland.

Łysica, which is also called Gora Swietej Katarzyny (St. Catherine's Mountain) lies in western part of the Lysogory range, near the village of Swieta Katarzyna. It belongs to the so-called Crown of Polish Mountains (“Korona Gor Polskich”), as it is the highest mountain of Holy Cross Mountains. Łysica has two peaks, eastern, and western, with the latter being higher by 4 meters.

The mountain is made of quartzite and slate, its northern and southern slopes are marked by the stone run. Furthermore, on the southern slope, at the height of 590 meters, there is a small bog. Most of Łysica is covered by a forest, near the peak there are fir trees, below which are beeches. Łysica is inhabited by birds of prey, such as the lesser spotted eagle, the Eurasian sparrowhawk, and the Eurasian hobby.


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