Overview

Distribution

Range Description

Falco hypoleucos is infrequently seen over much of arid and semi-arid Australia. Its range covers eastern Australia, especially arid regions, and northern Australia south to approximately 26oS, south of which it is casual in occurrence (Johnstone and Storr 1998). It may have been eliminated from some breeding areas early in the 20th century, particularly those with more than 500 mm annual rainfall in New South Wales, where its eastern limit has also shifted further inland since the 1950s (Olsen 1998). The contraction in its breeding distribution (Garnett 1993) is attributed to habitat degradation, which reduced the suitability of some semi-arid habitat and restricted the species to the arid zone (Olsen 1998). The main breeding distribution now covers areas where annual rainfall is <500 mm (Garnett et al. 2011). The present range is believed to be stable, and it is apparently more widespread during inland droughts. There is evidence of regular seasonal movements between the arid zone and northern Australia, and possibly New Guinea, and from west to east in Queensland. It is always found at very low densities, and its population is believed to number only 1,000 mature individuals in total (Schoenjahn 2011, Garnett et al. 2011). These estimates are based on limited information about the species and comparison with data for the Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus (J. Schoenjahn in litt. 2007). The population of F. hypoleucos is thought to be stable.

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Range

Sparse in arid and semiarid areas of Australia with scattered trees.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology

The distribution of this species is centred on inland drainage systems where there is an average annual rainfall of less than 500 mm. It favours timbered lowland plains, particularly acacia shrublands that are crossed by tree-lined watercourses, but frequents other grassland and woodland habitats. It hunts birds (mostly parrots and pigeons), insects (Johnstone and Storr 1998), and mammals, and will also feed on carrion. It uses the abandoned nests of other bird species, particularly raptors, or corvids (Johnstone and Storr 1998), and lays one to four eggs in July or August (Johnstone and Storr 1998). Its preferred nests are usually in the tallest trees along watercourses. In any particular area nesting may only take place in years of above average rainfall, with birds leaving in drier years.


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
D1

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Taylor, J. & Butchart, S.

Contributor/s
Olsen, P. & Schoenjahn, J.

Justification
This species has been uplisted to Vulnerable because although it has an extremely large range, and historical populations declines and range contractions are believed to have ceased, it occurs at very low densities and its population has been precautionarily estimated to number fewer than 1,000 mature individuals. If the population size is eventually found to be larger than currently feared it may be eligible for downlisting.


History
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Threatened (T)
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