Falco cuvierii (African hobby, African hobby falcon) 

Afrikaanse boomvalk [Afrikaans]; Kakodi (generic term for sparrowhawks, goshawks, kestrels and falcons) [Kwangali]; Afrikaanse boomvalk [Dutch]; Faucon de Cuvier [French]; Afrikanischer baumfalke [German]; Ógea-africana [Portuguese]

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Falco cuvierii (African hobby, African hobby falcon)   

African hobby, The Gambia. [photo Sue Robinson ©]


Distribution and habitat

Occurs in patches across sub-Saharan Africa; within southern Africa it is uncommon to rare in Zimbabwe, central Mozambique, northern Botswana and the Caprivi Strip (Namibia), with isolated records in central Namibia and Limpopo Province. It generally prefers tropical woodland, savanna, the border between forest and savanna and heavily disturbed, cultivated or urban areas; in southern Africa it tends to occupy palm savanna and broad-leaved woodland.

Distribution of African hobby 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).

Movements and migrations

Summer breeding visitor, arriving in southern Africa in about September and leaving in April. Its non-breeding grounds probably lie to the north, however their exact location is unknown.


It mainly eats insects, supplemented with small birds and bats, hunting aerially either close to the ground or high up in the canopy, striking prey aerially with great speed. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • Little known in southern Africa, although it is known to be monogamous and territorial.
  • It uses the stick nest of another bird, such as Wahlberg's eagle, Black kite, Cape crow, Pied crow and White-breasted cormorant, usually at the top of a prominent tree.
  • Egg-laying season is from September-November.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are mainly incubated by the female for roughly 30 days.
  • The chicks are brooded and fed by the female with food given to her by the male, leaving the nest after about 30 days.


Probably not threatened.


  • 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. 



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