A resident bird of Cyprus and the Akamas peninsula. It’s a very common, widespread and well-known falcon species that lives in a wide variety of habitats all over the island, even in towns and cities. Usually it prefers more open areas, but can live in forests too, as long there are few open areas around to be able to hunt.
It’s usually seen singly or in pairs, while in family groups during the period that the juveniles start to fly and until their independence. One of the characteristic hunting methods it uses and it’s a pretty common sighting, is by hovering (staying still on one point, with wing flapping or by just ‘hanging’ on air with open wings), always against the wind direction.
When it spots its prey, it makes an attack either with a direct dive, or progressively in a ‘ladder’ style, by lowering in ‘steps’ until the final dive.Other hunting methods it uses is either by being perched on a view spot, where it scans the surroundings or by soaring and scanning the area until it spots the prey and then making a sudden attack.
It feeds on a wide range of prey. In Cyprus the biggest percentage is reptiles (mainly lizards, less so snakes), small rodents (mice, rats) and to a lesser extend birds and large insects (e.g. grasshoppers, beetles etc.).
It nests in holes or recesses on cliffs or rocks, on buildings but also on trees, usually using abandoned old corvid nests. It’s a medium sized falcon, with long wings and tail. The male has a tile-brown back and wings with black spots, grey head with black moustaches, grey tail with a black finish. The underpart is pale beige with intensive black spotting. The female is similar, without the grey parts on the body.