Falco chicquera (Red-necked
Rooinekvalk [Afrikaans]; Kakodi (generic term for
sparrowhawks, goshawks, kestrels and falcons) [Kwangali]; Rukodzi (generic name
for a small raptor such as falcon or sparrowhawk) [Shona]; Rigamani, Rikhozi
(generic terms for some falcons) [Tsonga]; Roodkopsmelleken [Dutch]; Faucon
chicquera [French]; Rothalsfalke [German]; Falc„o-de-nuca-vermelha [Portuguese]
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Red-necked falcon, Kgalagadi National Park, South
Africa. [photo Johann
Distribution and habitat
It has isolated populations in both India and sub-Saharan
Africa, absent from much of the DRC and West Africa. In southern Africa it is
generally uncommon in patches of Namibia, Botswana, northern Zimbabwe,
north-west South Africa and central Mozambique. It generally prefers open savanna
woodland, but it also occurs in Hyphaene palm savanna.
Distribution of Red-necked falcon in southern
Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird
Atlas Project (©
Animal Demography unit, University of
Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range
from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common).
See here for the latest distribution
from the SABAP2.
Movements and migrations
Generally resident and sedentary, as pairs
usually remain in their territories year-round. It is
sometimes nomadic so that it can exploit temporarily abundant food
It mainly eats small to medium-sized birds, supplemented
with small mammals and insects, taken either aerially or from the ground.
It often hunts in pairs; the larger female flushes a bird which the male then
takes down aerially. The Gabar goshawk may also take the role of the female,
flushing prey so that the Red-necked falcon can catch it, after which they both
feed on the carcass; a unique partnership among falcons. It is even agile and fast enough to
hunt swallows aerially in dramatic chases, and may also ambush prey from a
concealed position in the tree canopy. The following food items have been recorded
in its diet:
- small mammals
- Monogamous, territorial solitary nester, with a long pair bond.
- It usually uses the stick nest of a crow
or large raptor, placed at the top
of a tree or at the base of a Borassus or Hyphaene palm
frond, sometimes displacing the active breeding pair who built the nest.
- Egg-laying season is from July-October, peaking from August-September.
- It lays 2-4 eggs which are incubated solely by the female for about
32-34 days, while the male delivers food to her at the nest.
- The chicks are brooded constantly by the female until they are 5-6 days
old, at which point the female starts to help the male hunt for food. They
eventually leave the nest at 34-37 days old, probably becoming fully
independent 1-3 months later.
Not threatened, in fact it is well-represented in protected
areas and has benefited from artificial water bodies in arid areas.
Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts
- Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker
Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.