F. s. subbuteo: the nominate race is resident in Africa, Europe and Central and East Asia, winters in Central and South Africa and South Asia
F. s. streichi: described by Hartert and Neumann in 1907, is smaller in size and is found further east of F. s. subbuteo's distribution range
Adults are slate-grey above with a dark crown and two short black moustachial stripes. The throat is unstreaked white, thighs and undertail coverts are unstreaked rufous and rest of the underparts are whitish with black streaks. Close views enable the red "trousers" and vent to be seen. Sexes are similar. Juveniles are generally much browner, with scaled upper parts and streaked buffy thighs and undertail coverts.
The hobby has a distinct first-summer plumage.
This falcon is 29–36 cm (11–14 in) in length with a wingspan of 74–84 cm (29–33 in) and a weight of 175–285 g (6.2–10.1 oz).
F. subbuteo from Kadzidlowo
Juvenile F. subbuteo portrait
Distribution and statusEdit
This species breeds across the Palearctic realm. It is a long-distance migrant, wintering in Africa and Asia.
It is a bird of open country such as farmland, marshes, taiga and savannah. They are widespread in lowlands with scattered small woods. It is an elegant bird of prey, appearing sickle-like in flight with its long pointed wings and square tail, often resembling a swift when gliding with folded wings. It is fast and powerful in flight and will take large insects, such as dragonflies, which it transfers from talons to beak and eats while soaring slowly in circles. It also captures small bats and small birds in flight. Its speed and aerobatic skills enable it to take swallows and even swifts on the wing, and barn swallows or house martins have a characteristic "hobby" alarm call. It is known to harass swallows while they are roosting and dispersing from roosts. When not breeding, it is crepuscular, hawking principally in the mornings and evenings. While on migration, they may move in small groups.
Hobbies nest in old nests of crows and other birds. The tree selected is most often one in a hedge or on the extreme edge of a spinney, from where the bird can observe intruders from a considerable distance. It lays 2–4 eggs. Incubation is said to take 28 days and both parents share in this duty, though the female does the greater part.
^BirdLife International (2016). "Falco subbuteo". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22696460A93564381. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22696460A93564381.en. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
^Helbig, A.J.; Seibold, I.; Bednarek, W.; Brüning, H.; Gaucher, P.; Ristow, D.; Scharlau, W.; Schmidl, D.; Wink, Michael (1994). Meyburg, B.-U.; Chancellor, R.D. (eds.). Phylogenetic relationships among falcon species (genus Falco) according to DNA sequence variation of the cytochrome b gene(PDF). Raptor conservation today. pp. 593–599.
^Wink, Michael; Seibold, I.; Lotfikhah, F.; Bednarek, W. (1998). Chancellor, R.D.; Meyburg, B.-U.; Ferrero, J.J. (eds.). Molecular systematics of holarctic raptors (Order Falconiformes)(PDF). Holarctic Birds of Prey. Adenex & WWGBP. pp. 29–48.
^Nittinger, F.; Haring, E.; Pinsker, W.; Wink, Michael; Gamauf, A. (2005). "Out of Africa? Phylogenetic relationships between Falco biarmicus and other hierofalcons (Aves Falconidae)" (PDF). Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 43 (4): 321–331. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0469.2005.00326.x.
^Linnaeus, C. (1758). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata (in Latin). holmiae (Stockholm): Laurentii Salvii. p. 89. F. cera pedibusque flavis, dorso fusco, nucha alba abdomine pallido maculis oblongis fuseis.
^Shorter Oxford English dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2007. p. 3804. ISBN 978-0199206872.
^Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 266, 369. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.