Red-necked Falcon (Falco chicquera)

Red-necked Falcon

[order] FALCONIFORMES | [family] Falconidae | [latin] Falco chicquera | [authority] Daudin, 1800 | [UK] Red-necked Falcon | [FR] Faucon chiquera | [DE] Rothals-Falke | [ES] Alcotan Turumti | [NL] Rooddkopsmelleken


Monotypic species


Members of the genus falco are mostly medium-sized falcons, but vary from the large peregrine falcon to the small American kestrel. The wings are long and pointed and used almost continuously during flight. The bill is short, powerful, and with a distinct ‘tooth’ on each side. Most falcons of this group have a black teardrop-shaped ‘mustache’ mark on each side of the head. Falcons are fastflying birds of open country and are famous for attaining high speeds as they dive from high altitudes to knock birds out of the air.

Physical charateristics

The Red-necked Falcon is a medium-sized, long-winged species with a bright rufous crown and nape. It is on average 30?36 cm in length with a wingspan of 85 cm. The sexes are similar except in size: males are smaller as females as is usual in falcons. Young birds are buff below with less extensive barring and duller upper plumage.

The adult of the African subspecies Falco chicquera ruficollis has a white face apart from black moustachial stripes. The upperparts are pale grey, with black primary wing feathers and tail tip. The underparts are white with dark barring on the underwings, lower breast, belly and undertail. There is a buff foreneck band. The legs and eyering are yellow.

wingspan min.: 65 cm wingspan max.: 75 cm
size min.: 30 cm size max.: 36 cm
incubation min.: 32 days incubation max.: 35 days
fledging min.: 35 days fledging max.: 40 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 5  


Africa, Oriental Region : Central, West, South Africa, India


Occurs in open habitats with sparse vegetation and scattered trees, including riparian habitats, woodland edges, dry watercourses, and palm savanna. Often associated with a group of palm trees near a waterhole. The race in Namibia and Botswana (horsbrughi), occurs in arid habitats, but the race ruficollis, occurring elsewhere in Africa, is closely associated with more mesic woodland habitats with Borassus palms in moist grasslands and savannas


Eggs are laid from July-October in southern Africa and January to mid-April in Uganda. The race horsbrughi lays eggs in the old stick nest of crows or other raptor species, usually one that is placed in the crown of an isolated tree. The eggs of ruficollis are placed in the cavity of the crown of a palm tree or at the base of a palm frond. Clutch size is 3-4 eggs, which are roundish oval and deep buffy, densely smeared with fine spots of reddish-brown. The female incubates and cares for the young, and the male does the hunting. The incubation period is 33 days, and the nestling period about 36 days.

Feeding habits

Feeds mainly on small birds up the size of small dove, capturing them after dashing from an open perch below the canopy of a tree. More rarely feeds on rodents, bats, reptiles, and probably termites. There is a regular foraging association between this species and Gabar Goshawks around waterholes in the Kalahari, and it appears that the hunting success of both species is improved by the association.

Video Red-necked Falcon


copyright: Juan Sanabria


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Red-necked Falcon status Least Concern


Probably sedentary in most regions, but may breed outside of the normal range in response to changes in prey abundance. The southern, arid-country population is likely less sedentary than the more northern population and probably moves in response to rainfall changes.

Distribution map

Red-necked Falcon distribution range map

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