Aplomado Falcon (Falco femoralis)
Aplomado Falcon, Emas, Goiás, Brazil, April 2001 - click for larger image The Aplomado Falcon is a bird of open country such as savanna and cerrado and is found from Central America throughout South America to Tierra del Fuego. In the northern and southern extremes of its range it is migratory and it is only seasonally present in Central America and Patagonia.

The overall population may be increasing as deforestation opens up new potential habitat.

Aplomado Falcon, Emas, Goiás, Brazil, April 2001 - click for larger image Its pale supercilium extends behind the eye while its whitish throat and cheeks are separated by a dark malar stripe. There is a dark band across the belly and its thighs and lower underparts are rufous. The cere and legs are yellow.

In flight it shows a long tail for a falcon. This is blackish with five off-white bands and a white tip. In the fourth photo you can just make out the indicative white trailing edge to the wing.

Aplomado Falcon, Emas, Goiás, Brazil, April 2001 - click for larger image Insects and birds form a large part of its diet and it normally spots its prey from a perch above the grasslands as in photos two and three. We normally saw pairs of Aplomado Falcons and they are reported to hunt in tandem with one bird flushing the prey while the other goes for the kill.
Aplomado Falcon, Emas, Goiás, Brazil, April 2001 - click for larger image We were told that there is a symbiotic relationship between the Aplomado Falcon and the Maned Wolf (Chrysocon brachyurus) whereby the Maned Wolf acts as the flusher of prey for the falcons. Francis Tillemans has pointed out to me that there is confirmation of this behaviour at http://geocities.yahoo.com.br/otazoo/Loboefalcao.pdf
Aplomado Falcon, Aguas de São Pedro, São Paulo, Brazil, August 2004 - click for larger image Photos 8, 9 and 10 show the sub-species F. f. pichinchae. This is a much richer rufous on the underparts. In fact I don't think my photos show just how rich the rufous is. It also has a broken breast-band or "cumerbund".

There are illustrations in HBW, Volume 2, Pages 228, 246 and 264; Hilty & Brown, Plates 5 and VII; and Sick, Plate 8.

Aplomado Falcon chasing Southern Caracara, Aguas de São Pedro, São Paulo, Brazil, August 2004 - click for larger image
Aplomado Falcon chasing Southern Caracara, Aguas de São Pedro, São Paulo, Brazil, August 2004 - click for larger image
Aplomado Falcon, Lauca NP, Chile, February 2007 - click for larger image
Aplomado Falcon, Lauca NP, Chile, February 2007 - click for larger image
Aplomado Falcon, Lauca NP, Chile, February 2007 - click for larger image
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