Fun Taita Falcon Facts For Kids

Rhea Nischal
Oct 20, 2022 By Rhea Nischal
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Discover captivating Taita falcon facts about its range, breeding, distribution, flight, and more!
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.7 Min

The Taita falcon, Falco fasciinucha, is a localized and rare falcon species, that was named after the Taita Hills of Kenya. It is a sturdily built falcon that is small in size and possesses a short tail, with two rufous-colored marks on its nape.

Its coloration is almost identical to that of the African hobby. It possesses dark upper parts, white cheeks, and a buff-colored throat with exceptional black stripes.

It is a highly specialized, bird-hunting raptor that occurs in southern and eastern Africa.

The Taita falcon has been observed in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, and Malawi. A few of these raptors have been observed in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces of South Africa.

This raptor is very rare, with less than 50 known nest sites, resulting in patchy records of the population, range, and distribution of this species. This species is rare and uncommon throughout east and southern Africa but it has been observed to breed on cliffs adjoining lush localities.

It often chooses to inhabit a wooded region, in mountains and river valleys where high rock faces are present for nesting.

These birds are often spotted perching in pairs on small trees or cliff ledges. Like all falcon species, it has a very powerful flight.

This falcon lays between two and four eggs, however, the breeding success of this species is typically weak. Keep reading to get to know more Taita falcon facts about its nesting, breeding, habitat, and more!

If you liked reading our Taita falcon fun facts, dig deeper into the bird world by checking out our lanner falcon surprising facts and black-thighed falconet facts for kids!

Taita Falcon Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Taita falcon?

The Taita falcon, Falco fasciinucha, is a bird that is a member of the family of caracaras and falcons, Falconidae, and the genus Falco. It was named after the Taita Hills of Kenya.

It is a sturdily built bird that is quite small in size and possesses a short tail, with two rufous-colored marks on its nape (the back of the throat). It is similar in appearance to the peregrine falcon.

What class of animal does a Taita falcon belong to?

The Taita falcon, Falco fasciinucha, belongs to the class of Aves.

How many Taita falcons are there in the world?

There are less than 50 known nest sites of the Taita falcons, making it a poorly known and relatively rare species. This Taita falcon is considered to be one of the rarest breeding birds in South Africa.

In 2009, it was estimated that there are less than 500 pairs of these birds. Thus the population is approximately within the range of 500-1000 individuals.

This African bird has been classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN. In comparison, the global population of the peregrine falcon is estimated to be c. 140,000 individuals which implies that there exist 93,300 adult birds.

Where does a Taita falcon live?

This species prefers to reside in a wooded region, mountainous country, or river valleys. As it is an uncommon species throughout eastern and southern Africa, records of its population, range, and distribution are quite patchy.

It has been observed in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, and Malawi. A few of these raptors have been observed in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces of South Africa.

What is a Taita falcon's habitat?

This species prefers to live in gorges and high cliffs up to an altitude of 12467.1 ft (3800 m) where it nests and roosts. It hunts across a wide region surrounded by dry woodland, savanna, and cultivated land.

Its nest is an uncomplicated scrape on a cliff face or sheltered ledge, overlooking lush habitat typically. One of its famous nesting sites is in a gorge of the Zambezi underneath the Victoria Falls in southern Africa.

Who do Taita falcons live with?

These birds either live alone or in pairs and are often seen perching on short trees that grow on a cliff face or cliff ledge.

How long does a Taita falcon live?

The lifespan of the Taita falcon, Falco fasciinucha, is not known yet. However, on average, other falcon species can live for 17-19 years.

How do they reproduce?

This species breeds in mountainous regions and highlands with high cliffs and low levels of rainfall. The Taita falcon is considered to be one of the rarest breeding birds in South Africa.

It breeds from July to December in southern Africa and from April to September in east Africa. The breeding lasts for at least four months in Zimbabwe. Their nest is built on a rock and is very simple.

The female bird lays between two and four eggs which are incubated for 31-33 days. The chicks of this species fledge after 42 days approximately.

What is their conservation status?

This species was classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN but then it was later classified as Vulnerable due to a decline in its population. It is estimated that there are less than 500 pairs of these birds.

Thus the population is approximately within the range of 500-1000 individuals. Its main threats include urbanization, pesticide spraying, aircraft disturbances, and competition for food. These birds are particularly threatened by pesticide spraying in Zimbabwe which has led to a decline in the population there.

Taita Falcon Fun Facts

What do Taita falcons look like?

The Taita falcon is one of the smallest-sized falcons in South Africa that looks quite magnificent. Its length ranges between 9.8-11 in (25–28 cm) with a wingspan of up to 2 ft (24 in).

Its head is a pale chestnut color and it possesses a dark line behind its eye, with its nape sides being black in color. Its upperparts are dark gray colored and become pale on the upper tail coverts, on the rump, and on the tail, which possesses dark stripes.

The throat and the chin are of a very light buff color.

The underparts have narrow black bars and are tawny in color, with the thighs having more chestnut color. It has dark brown-colored eyes and the feet and legs are yellow in color.

It looks similar in appearance to the Peregrine falcon, although the Taita falcon has a less robust flight, a shorter tail, and displays rufous underneath. Taita falcon colors are similar to those of the African hobby.

*Please note that this image is of a peregrine falcon and not of a Taita falcon. If you have an image of a Taita falcon, please let us know at hello@kidadl.com

Falcon sitting on branch

How cute are they?

These African raptors are quite small in size and have short tails. They have two very cute rufous colored spots on the nape giving them a somewhat cute appearance. They are quite innocent looking when perched on a tree.

How do they communicate?

These African raptors are very vocal and have a loud, screaming high-pitched call similar to that of the peregrine falcon, but less powerful.

How big is a Taita falcon?

One of the smallest of falcons in size in the southern African region, the Taita falcon ranges between 9.8-11 in (25–28 cm), with a wingspan of up to 2 ft (24 in). The length of the lanner falcon is double the length of the Taita falcon.

How fast can a Taita falcon fly?

The speed of this African raptor has not been evaluated yet. However, it has an impressive flight speed like all other species of their family. Its flight looks heavy and is quite fast, with it being proficient at aerial hunting.

How much does a Taita falcon weigh?

A male Taita falcon can range between 7.5-8.2 oz (212–233 g), whereas a female can range between 10.5-12.2 oz (297–346 g) in weight.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Male birds can be referred to as 'tiercels' and females as 'falcons'.

What would you call a baby Taita falcon?

A baby Taita falcon is known as an 'eyas' or 'eyass'.

What do they eat?

These birds of prey consume small birds like bulbuls, swifts, and quealeas which they capture in-flight. They may also consume some insect species like termites and beetles which are caught by their claws and carried to their bill in flight only. The young of these birds are preyed upon by the lanner falcon, the peregrine falcon, and owls.

Are they dangerous?

Yes, Taita falcons have pointed bills and powerful claws. They can harm animals and humans as well if they pose any threat to them!

Would they make a good pet?

Taita falcons are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN as their populations in east Africa and South Africa are declining, making them illegal to keep as a pet.

Did you know...

The existence of the Taita falcon was kept hidden from the world initially when it was found in the year 1990 in South Africa.

A pair of Taita falcons that nests at Victoria Falls has become quite famous.

The peregrine falcon is renowned for its extremely fast diving speed of 186 mph (300 kph) during flight. It is the world's fastest animal as well as the fastest bird! It is also very powerful with pointy talons and can attack humans. They might be even able to significantly hurt a human, resulting in a fatal attack.

Does Africa have falcons?

Yes, there are lots of falcons living in Africa. There are 16 falcon species found in South Africa alone!

What is the rarest falcon?

The gray falcon that is indigenous to Australia is considered to be the rarest falcon and can be observed primarily in mainland Australia with the exception of Cape York.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our Carolina parakeet fun facts and white gyrfalcon surprising facts pages!

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our Taita Falcon coloring pages!

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Written by Rhea Nischal

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

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Rhea NischalBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

A background in Business Administration and Management from MCM DAV College, Rhea has led her to work for her father's global business. However, her passion for content production, where she manages operations to ensure all processes run smoothly. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the piano and spending time with her one-year-old nephew.

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Fact-checked by Gowri Rao

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

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Gowri RaoBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

With a bachelor's degree in Economics from Krea University, Gowri is a highly skilled data analyst and an expert in regression and causation modeling. Her interests in economic trends, finance, and investment research complement her professional expertise. In addition to her professional pursuits, Gowri enjoys swimming, running, and playing the drums, and she is also a talented tutor.

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