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Birding Málaga


Common name Eleonora's falcon
Scientific name Falco eleonorae
Type Seabirds
Status Accidental

Medium size raptor (approx 44 cm or 17.5 in) with an also medium wingspan (approx 100 cm or 3.5 ft). It is a stylized looking hawk. Dark brown upperparts and crown. Marked moustachial stripe on the face; pale cheeks and throat. Reddish legs and underparts. Barred breast. Females larger than males and with greyish eye ring and bill (yellow in males). There are several phases of plumage in the adults: there are individuals with darker plumage tones in general up to almost black. In flight, they have the appearance of a hobby with dark wings.

Where it lives

Species linked to marine cliffs on islands and less frequently to continental coastal rock fields. The Eleonora's Falcon uses wetlands, pine forests and farmlands close to its main habitat. It is a Mediterranean species and the main populations are on the coast of Morocco and on islands such as the Balearics.

How it lives

Occasional bird in the province. This falcon makes one of the most striking migrations of all raptors as it crosses the Sahara desert practically in a straight line and without stops in record time. It breeds on coastal cliffs. Nest on rocks. One annual laying of 2 to 3 eggs, late, already in mid-July. This is due to the fact that its main prey are small birds in migratory passage, reason why the Eleonora's Falcon delays its reproduction to wait for these to become more frequent. It also captures flying insects (coleoptera and lepidoptera). Hunting in a group and in an orderly manner, usually over the sea.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

In the province of Malaga it is a very irregular species. It can be watched in any month of the year except in the winter ones. The Mijas mountain ranges concentrate most observations of this hawk.

Curious facts

This falcon owes its name to Eleonora d'Arborea, a fighter for the independence of Sardinia against the Crown of Aragon and governor of the island between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. She enacted raptor protection ordinances to reserve the use of these birds to the nobility. In 1836 the Italian naturalist Giuseppe Géné described the species from a specimen observed in a marine cliff of Sardinia, baptizing it with the name of this pioneer of the conservation of birds.

Similar birds
Wintering Summer Resident Migration