Birds – The Aplomado Falcon

(F. Fusco-Coerulescens), or Orange-chested Hobby, as it is sometimes called, is a handsome Falcon of Central and South America, which reaches the border of the United States in southern Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. It is from fifteen to eighteen inches long, bluish gray above, with a broad stripe behind the eye, ear-coverts, chin, throat, and chest immaculate white, while there is orange-rufous on the occiput, and the lower parts are slaty blackish, narrowly barred with white, except the thighs and lower tail-coverts, which are light rufous or rusty. The wings and tail are blackish with transverse white bars, while the bill is yellow with a black tip, and the feet orange. In Argentina, where it is tolerably common, Mr. Hudson speaks of it as a poor spirited bird which “never boldly and openly attacks any bird, except the smallest species, and prefers to perch on an elevation from which it can dart down suddenly and take its prey by surprise.” Its food consists of mice, small reptiles, grasshoppers, and insects of various kinds, and occasionally a small bird. It frequents in the United States the open plains, covered here and there with low mesquite trees, oaks, and cactuses. Its nest is usually the abandoned home of the White-necked Raven, and the eggs are apparently three in number.