Oriental hobby

   ›      ›   Oriental hobby - Falco severus.

The Oriental hobby (Falco severus) belongs to the family Falconidae. These Oriental hobby species are distributed in India, Nepal, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Indochina, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea, Solomon Island, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Taxonomy of Oriental hobby

  • Scientific Name: Falco severus
  • Common Name: Oriental hobby
  • French: Faucon aldrovandin; German: Malaienbaumfalke; Spanish: Alcotán filipino;
  • Other names: Falco severus Horsfield, 1821;
  • Family: Falconidae › Falconiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: Horsfield, 1821
Falco severus is closely related to F. longipennis. The two recognized subspecies are: F. s. severus Horsfield, 1821 and F. s. papuanus Meyer & Wiglesworth, 1893.

Indian birds - Image of Oriental hobby - Falco severus
Indian birds - Image of Oriental hobby - Falco severus


The Oriental hobby is a small bird of prey, measuring 25 to 30 cm in length and weighing 170 to 250 grams. The wingspan is 60 to 70 cm. These hobby species have a black hood and pale throat. They have bluish-grey back and rufous underparts. The tail is short and the wings reach up to the tail tip. The legs are yellow. Their call is a repeated “kee-kee" sound.


The Oriental hobby species inhabit forest clearings, lowland forests, mangroves and foothill forests.

Feeding habits

The Oriental hobby species feed mainly on insects. They have been observed to prey on small birds and bats.


The Oriental hobby nests on the stick nests of other birds in trees, building ledges or on cliffs. The breeding season is from April to July in India.


The subspecies F. s. severus is distributed in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Indochina, Indonesia and Philippines. The subspecies F. s. papuanus is distributed in New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago and Solomon Island.

Movement Patterns

The Himalayan hobby are migratory and move southwards to south India and Sri Lanka for wintering. Other hobby populations appear to be sedentary.

Status and conservation

The Oriental hobby population is estimated to number 1,000-10,000 individual birds. These hobby species have extremely large range and are considered least vulnerable. Deforestation and habitat loss are the main threats to the survival of these falcon species.

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 severus
Species:F. severus
Binomial name:Falco severus
Distribution:India, Nepal, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Indochina, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea, Solomon Island, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka;
Feeding habits:Insects, small birds and bats;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oriental_Hobby_-_Falco_severus_-_Falco_(2526569907).jpg
Image author: Michael Gillam from Phuket, Thailand | License: CC BY 2.0
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