Bat falcon

Falco rufigularis

The bat falcon is a falcon that is a resident breeder in tropical Mexico, Central and South America and Trinidad. It was long known as ''Falco albigularis''; the name ''Falco fusco-coerulescens'' or ''Falco fuscocaerulescens'', long used for the aplomado falcon, are now believed to refer to the present species.

The female bat falcon, at 30.5 cm length, is much larger than the 23 cm long male. Adults have a black back, head and tail. The throat, upper breast and neck sides are creamy white, the lower breast and belly are black, finely barred white, and the thighs and lower belly are orange. Young birds are similar but with a buffy throat. The call of this species is a high pitched ''ke-ke-ke'' like American kestrel.

It is probably closely related to and looks like a small version of the orange-breasted falcon. These two, in turn, are probably closest to the aplomado falcon and constitute a rather old American lineage of ''Falco''s.

This small dark bird of prey inhabits open woodlands and forest clearings. Bat falcons perch conspicuously on high open snags, from which they launch aerial attacks on their prey. They hunt bats, birds and large insects such as dragonflies. The smaller male takes more insects, and the female more birds and bats. The flight is direct and powerful. This falcon is partly crepuscular, as the bats in its diet suggest. It lays 2–3 brown eggs in an unlined tree hole nest.
Status: Least concern
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Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassAves
OrderFalconiformes
FamilyFalconidae
GenusFalco
SpeciesF. rufigularis