Falco subbuteo (Eurasian hobby, Hobby falcon) 

Europese boomvalk [Afrikaans]; Kakodi (generic term for sparrowhawks, goshawks, kestrels and falcons) [Kwangali]; Phakoe (also applied to Lanner falcon) [South Sotho]; Rukodzi (generic name for a small raptor such as falcon or sparrowhawk) [Shona]; Rigamani, Rikhozi (generic terms for some falcons) [Tsonga]; Phakwę (generic term for some of the smaller raptors) [Tswana]; Boomvalk [Dutch]; Faucon hobereau [French]; Baumfalke [German]; Ógea-europeia [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Falconiformes > Family: Falconidae

Falco subbuteo (Eurasian hobby, Hobby falcon)  Falco subbuteo (Eurasian hobby, Hobby falcon) 

Eurasian hobby feeding on a swift, Kruger National Park, South Africa. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ©]

Eurasian hobby, Botswana. [photo Neil Gray ©]

Distribution and habitat

Breeds in Eurasia and north-western Africa, heading south in the non-breeding season to southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, absent from the lowland forest of the DRC and surrounding west African countries. Within southern Africa it is scarce to fairly common in northern Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, northern and central Mozambique and eastern and southern South Africa. It generally prefers open moist woodland and forest edges, sometimes moving into more open habitats to forage, such as coastal dunes and maccia-covered slopes, also occupying suburban areas.

Distribution of Eurasian 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). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Movements and migrations

Palearctic breeding migrant, leaving its breeding grounds from August-October; it is an uncommon visitor to southern Africa, staying from October-April.


It mainly eats insects, small birds and bats, usually hunting aerially and close to the ground; it may also spot and seek out prey from a prominent perch. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


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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