Fun Laughing Falcon Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Laughing Falcon Facts For Kids

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The laughing falcon, Herpetotheres cachinnans, is a bird of prey that belongs to the subfamily Herpetotherinae. This Neotropical species received its name because of its distinctive voice or laughter. Originally, cachinnans have been placed in the subfamily Polyborinae with the caracaras and other forest falcons. However, the American ornithologists' union (North American check-list committee) now places it in a similar subfamily of true falcons. Like all birds of prey, the female bird is larger than the male bird. The adult laughing falcon has a pale buff head. They are also similar to an American kestrel. Falcon or falconi are the common names of this bird.

Both the male and female falcon species have broad black face masks extended across the neck like a collar with a white border. The feather shafts on the crown are dark. The upper wings and back of the bird are brownish-black. They perch on tall trees and search for food on the ground. The call or sounds of a laughing falcon is a long series of human-like cries. Laughing falcons have a great wingspan that enables them to soar high. Their presence can be observed in various parts of the world, such as Brazil, America, the Amazon, and Argentina. All laughing falcon creatures mainly prey on snakes, lizards, rodents, and bats. The females can lay between one to two eggs, which have dark spots on a buff background. Read on for more on this falcon species.

If you want to know more about birds, then you can also check out saltmarsh sparrow and eastern kingbird facts.

Fun Laughing Falcon Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Mouse, lizard, insect, snake, bat

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

1-2 eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.9-1.8 lb (408-816 g)

How long are they?

17.3-22 in (44-56 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

White, black, pale yellow, brown

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Tayras, Spider Monkeys

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Woodland, Rainforest, Dry Forests, Open Areas With Scattered Trees, Coastal Slopes


Brazil, Central And South America, Paraguay, Northern Argentina









Laughing Falcon Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a laughing falcon?

The laughing falcon or snake hawk is a type of bird species.

What class of animal does a laughing falcon belong to?

The laughing falcon, Herpetotheres cachinnans, belongs to the Aves class of animals. They are also members of the falcon bird family.

How many laughing falcons are there in the world?

The population size of laughing falcons is between 500000-4999999, but their population trend is declining continuously around the world.

Where does a laughing falcon live?

The laughing falcon lives along the coastline of Mexico through the Central and South America region, the Bolivian Amazon and Peruvian Amazon areas, the entire country of Brazil, Paraguay, Costa Rica, and Northern Argentina. Most cachinnans birds prefer to build their nest at altitudes up to 5,000 ft (1524 m) and up to 7874 ft (2,400 m) in Columbia, although they tend to avoid mountainous regions. They can be seen in urban areas too, as they perch on trees and electric wires.

What is a laughing falcon's habitat?

The data map distribution of this bird is quite enormous. Its habitat consists of open regions or deforested areas with scattered trees. The laughing falcon likes to live in humid places to arid ones and tries to avoid deep or closed forests. The cachinnans is generally a non-migratory bird, but in some areas, it may make a seasonal occurrence in another region.

Who do laughing falcons live with?

Most Herpetotheres cachinnans live mostly on their own or in pairs. They are considerably sedentary birds, but some of them may perform seasonal movements.

How long does a laughing falcon live?

The life span of the Herpetotheres cachinnans is nearly 14 years.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of laughing falcons varies according to the latitude of their residing place, but is most probably from April to May. They are monogamous animals. Most cachinnans breed in tree cavities, rock crevices, cliffs, or abandoned nests of other birds, such as buteo hawks or caracaras. They often build their nest on a sky-high tree, away from the surrounding vegetation. Close to nests, both males and females perform loud duets. All-female cachinnans lay between one to two eggs at a time, but mostly, they lay one. The eggs are white, brown, or pale buff with dark markings on them. The incubation period of eggs is between 45-50 days. The eggs are mostly incubated by the female. Herpetotheres cachinnans infants are pale buffy brown on the bottom, darker on upper parts, with a dark mask on the faces. The laughing falcon males bring food to the nests, but females feed the chicks through their beaks or bill.

What is their conservation status?

The laughing falcons have an extremely large range and have a conservational status of Least Concern. The population size of these falcons has been continuously decreasing with time, but it is not believed to be sufficiently expeditious to approach the thresholds for the Vulnerable category.

Laughing Falcon Fun Facts

What do laughing falcons look like?

Laughing falcons (Herpetotheres cachinnans) are dark and white birds who eat snakes. The common laughing falcon description consists of relatively small, rounded wings and a long tail body. Both male and female cachinnans look alike, with females moderately bigger than the males. The mature laughing falcon back is dark brown. The feather wear of laughing falcons is dark brown with white cinnamon marks at the bottom of primary flight feathers. Their tails are black with five to six buffy-white bands, but the tips are white. The underparts of both the male and female are completely buffy-white to creamy-white, whereas the underwings are light reddish-brown or buffy-white, with scattered brown spots. Alternatively, the color of under tail feathers is black, with infrequent three to four buffy-white bands. The neck, head, forehead, and crown are also buffy-white. There is a wide, dark-brown to blackish mask on the faces of laughing falcons, including eyes and cheeks. The bill is black with a yellow core, while the color of the legs and feet is yellow. The laughing falcon flying is slow in the atmosphere. The length of Herpetotheres cachinnans ranges between 17.3-22 in (46-56 cm), with a wingspan of 31.1-37 cm (79-94 cm). The immature falcons feature buff edges on the back and wings. The underparts of the chicks are white.

The laughing falcons have a dark face mask.

How cute are they?

They have cute physiques, but as a predatory bird, it is quite dangerous to approach them.

How do they communicate?

All Herpetotheres cachinnans communicate through different sounds. When disturbed, these cachinnans utter 'wah wah' or 'whah whah' repeatedly. They are far-carrying laughing sounds, which resemble human cries. The laughing falcons also give extensive sounds like 'gwa co' and a type of insane laugh 'ha-cah'.

How big is a laughing falcon?

The body length of a laughing falcon range between 18-22 in (46-56 cm), which is 10 times bigger than a mockingbird.

How fast can a laughing falcon fly?

The laughing falcons have the same flight speed as hawks and eagles, as they are all quite similar. They have a slow flight, with quick and shallow wing beats.

How much does a laughing falcon weigh?

The male laughing falcon bird weighs between 20-24.1 oz (565-685 g), while the female weighs from 22-28.2 oz (625-800 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names given for the male and female snake hawks.

What would you call a baby laughing falcon?

Like other bird species, the laughing falcon infants are call as chicks.

What do they eat?

The laughing falcons or Herpetotheres cachinnans are best known as birds of prey, that feed chiefly on arboreal and terrestrial snakes. These birds are predators of venomous snakes and other types of snakes. Snake hawks also eat frilled lizards, rodents, and fishes. They carry big prey and snakes head-forward in their claws. Falcons have similar diets depending on the species they belong to. For instance, the peregrine falcon, which is similar to the laughing falcon feeds on other birds and largely prey on reptiles like snakes.

Are they poisonous?

No, Herpetotheres cachinnans do not possess any venom-producing gland, and they are not poisonous birds.

Would they make a good pet?

The dark white laughing falcons are not only beautiful creatures but also known for their good temperament. Another characteristic is the voice of these bird species, which sounds pleasant. However, it is not common to have these birds as pets as they are purely carnivorous and require more effort to raise them. Also, they love to perch on trees and fly free, which makes them difficult to have them in a cage.

Did you know...

The laughing falcon is a member of the subfamily Herpetotherinae and has great significance in the culture of Chiapas, Mexico. People of this area believe that the laughing falcon can kill and eat venomous snakes because this bird has self-healing abilities. Therefore, the Tzotzil healers emulate the sound of a laughing falcon to cure a snake bite in humans.

You can learn more about this bird through the journal Herpetotheres cachinnans cachinnans by Linnaeus 1758.

Do laughing falcons migrate?

No, most Herpetotheres cachinnans are non-migratory, but some of them may show seasonal movements.

How did laughing falcons get their name?

The English name of laughing falcon comes from its loud laughter. But the scientific name Herpetotheres is from Latin roots. The generic name Herpetotheres refers to its preferred food and derives from the ancient Greek Herpeton, meaning 'reptile', and therein, meaning 'to mow down.' However, other member's relationships with the laughing falcon are unclear.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our eastern wood pewee facts and Hyacinth macaw facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Laughing falcon coloring pages.

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