Eurasian hobby

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The Eurasian hobby (Falco subbuteo) belongs to the family Falconidae. These Eurasian hobby species are distributed in Indian subcontinent, Europe, Africa, Asia, Indochina and southeast Asia.

Taxonomy of Eurasian hobby

  • Scientific Name: Falco subbuteo
  • Common Name: Oriental hobby
  • French: Faucon hobereau German: Baumfalke Spanish: Alcotán europeo;
  • Other names: Northern hobby;
  • Family: Falconidae › Falconiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: Linnaeus, 1758
Falco subbuteo is closely related to F. cuvierii, F. severus and F. longipennis. The two recognized subspecies are: F. s. subbuteo Linnaeus, 1758 and F. s. streichi E. J. O. Hartert & Neumann, 1907.

Indian birds - Image of Eurasian hobby - Falco subbuteo
Indian birds - Image of Eurasian hobby - Falco subbuteo


The Eurasian hobby is a small bird of prey, measuring 30 to 35 cm and weighing 130 to 230 grams. The female hobby is much larger and weighs 140 to 340 grams. The wingspan is 70 to 85 cm. It has slate-grey back and a dark crown. It has two short black moustachial stripes. The throat is white and thighs and undertail coverts are rufous. The underparts are white with black streaks. Its call is a plaintive sound.


These hobby species inhabit open wooded country, farmland, marshes and savanna with trees on the fringe.

Feeding habits

The Eurasian hobby species feed on large insects like dragonflies, beetles, moths, grasshoppers and locusts. They may also prey upon small birds and bats.


The Eurasian hobby breeding season is during June and July. They nest on trees, using the abandoned nests of other birds. The clutch contains two to four eggs. Both the parents take part in incubating and raising the chicks.


The subspecies F. s. subbuteo is distributed in Indian subcontinent, Europe, Africa, Asia and southeast Asia. The subspecies F. s. streichi is distributed in China, Indochina and Myanmar.

Movement Patterns

The Eurasian hobby are mostly migratory, the European birds move to Africa for wintering whereas the Asian birds move to Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia. The wintering migration occurs during August and October and the return to the breeding grounds is during March and April.

Status and conservation

The Eurasian hobby global population is estimated to number about 400,000 individual birds. These species of hobby have extremely large range and are considered least vulnerable. The destruction of forest habitats, human disturbance, hunting and wind energy structures are the major threats to the survival of these species of hobby.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these hobby species and has listed them as of "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Falco subbuteo
Species:F. subbuteo
Binomial name:Falco subbuteo
Distribution:Europe, Africa, Asia, Indian subcontinent, Indochina and southeast Asia;
Feeding habits:mostly insects;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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