Eurasian kestrel Falco tinnunculus, from here.

Belongs within: Falconidae.

Falco is a cosmopolitan genus containing the true falcons; the peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus is one of the world's most widely distributed bird species. Falcons have long pointed wings, unfeathered tarsi and a notch in the upper bill.

In the tree below, the first group to separate from the remaining species (Falco zoniventris to F. newtoni) contains the kestrels, mostly small falcons that hover while looking for prey. The remaining species are mostly larger and often darker in coloration, though the American kestrel F. sparverius is the smallest falcon in North America. The merlin F. columbarius is another small, but relatively robust, species.

Falco Linnaeus 1758 M02 [incl. Cerchneis Boie 1826 B94, Hypotriorchis Boie 1826 B94, Tinnunculus Vieillot 1807 B94]
    |--+--F. zoniventris JT12
    |  `--+--F. naumanni JT12
    |     `--+--F. rupicoloides JT12
    |        `--+--+--F. cenchroides Vigors & Horsfield 1827 JT12, R85
    |           |  |    |--F. c. cenchroides (see below for synonymy) WS48
    |           |  |    `--F. c. baru HR96
    |           |  `--F. tinnunculus Linnaeus 1758 JT12, M02 [incl. F. tinnunculus atavus Jánossy 1972 M02]
    |           |       |--F. t. tinnunculus VP89
    |           |       |--F. t. interstictus VP89
    |           |       `--F. t. saturatus VP89
    |           `--+--F. punctatus JT12
    |              `--+--F. araea JT12
    |                 `--F. newtoni JT12
    `--+--+--F. columbarius JT12
       |  |    |--F. c. columbarius VP89
       |  |    `--F. c. insignis VP89
       |  `--F. sparverius JT12 [=Cerchneis sparveria S18]
       |       |--F. s. sparverius HRS06
       |       `--F. s. fernandensis (Chapman 1915) HRS06
       `--+--+--+--F. dickinsoni JT12
          |  |  `--+--F. amurensis JT12
          |  |     `--F. vespertinus Linnaeus 1766 JT12, M02
          |  `--+--F. deiroleucus JT12
          |     `--+--F. rufigularis JT12
          |        `--+--F. longipennis Swainson 1837 JT12, WS48 (see below for synonymy)
          |           `--+--F. concolor JT12
          |              `--+--F. eleonorae JT12
          |                 `--+--F. cuvierii JT12
          |                    `--F. subbuteo Linnaeus 1758 JT12, M02
          `--+--+--F. femoralis JT12
             |  `--F. novaeseelandiae Gmelin 1788 JT12, WH02
             `--+--+--F. berigora Vigors & Horsfield 1827 JT12, WS48
                |  |    |--F. b. berigora [incl. Ieracidea occidentalis Gould 1844] WS48
                |  |    `--F. b. centralia (Mathews 1916) [=Ieracidea berigora centralia] WS48
                |  `--F. chicquera JT12
                `--+--F. mexicanus JT12
                   `--+--+--F. pelegrinoides JT12
                      |  `--F. peregrinus Tunstall 1771 JT12, M02
                      |       |--F. p. peregrinus I92
                      |       |--F. p. anatum USDI77
                      |       |--F. p. fruitii Momiyama 1927 I92
                      |       |--F. p. harterti Buturlin 1907 I92
                      |       |--F. p. japonensis Gmelin 1788 I92
                      |       |--F. p. macropus Swainson 1837 [incl. F. peregrinus submelanogenys Mathews 1912] WS48
                      |       |--F. p. pealei Ridgway 1874 I92
                      |       `--F. p. tundrius USDI77
                      `--+--F. biarmicus JT12
                         `--+--+--F. cherrug Gray 1844 JT12, M02 [incl. F. antiquus Mourer-Chauviré 1975 M02]
                            |  `--F. subniger Gray 1843 JT12, WS48
                            `--+--F. jugger JT12
                               `--F. rusticolus Linnaeus 1758 JT12, M02
Falco incertae sedis:
  ‘Tinnunculus’ alaudarius B66
  F. albigularis S18
  F. alopex JT12
  F. ardosiaceus JT12
  F. bakalovi Boev 1999 M02
  F. communis [incl. F. radama] Sch66
  F. duboisi HSS13
  F. fasciinucha FP64
  F. gyrfalco D66
  F. hypoleucos Gould 1840 WS48
  F. kreyenborgi FP64
  F. medius Umans’ka 1981 M02
  F. melanogenys [=F. peregrinus melanogenys] S13
  F. moluccensis J06
    |--F. m. moluccensis J06
    `--F. m. microbalia J06
  ‘Tinnunculus’ rupicola Scl66
  F. severus VP89

Falco cenchroides cenchroides [incl. Cerchneis cenchroides milliganis Mathews 1912 WS48, C. unicolor Milligan 1904] WS48

Falco longipennis Swainson 1837 JT12, WS48 [incl. F. lunulatus murchisonianus Mathews 1912 WS48, F. longipennis murchisonianus M03]

*Type species of generic name indicated


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[B66] Bulger, G. E. 1866. List of birds observed at Wellington, Neilgherry Hills, about 6000 feet above the level of the sea, during the months of April and May, 1866. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 568-571.

[D66] Dilke, C. W. 1866. Letter from, respecting a gyrfalcon. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 2.

[FP64] Fisher, J., & R. T. Peterson. 1964. The World of Birds: A comprehensive guide to general ornithology. Macdonald: London.

[HRS06] Hahn, I., U. Römer & R. P. Schlatter. 2006. Population numbers and status of land birds of the Juan Fernández Archipelago, Chile (Aves: Falconiformes, Columbiformes, Strigiformes, Caprimulgiformes, Passeriformes). Senckenbergiana Biologica 86 (1): 109-125.

[HR96] Heather, B. D., & H. A. Robertson. 1996. The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Viking: Auckland.

[HSS13] Hirschfeld, E., A. Swash & R. Still. 2013. The World's Rarest Birds. Princeton University Press: Princeton (New Jersey).

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[J06] Johnstone, R. E. 2006. The birds of Gag Island, Western Papuan islands, Indonesia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 23 (2): 115-132.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[M03] Morcombe, M. 2003. Field Guide to Australian Birds, 2nd ed. Steve Parish Publishing.

[R85] Robertson, C. J. R. (ed.) 1985. Reader’s Digest Complete Book of New Zealand Birds. Reader’s Digest: Sydney.

[S13] Sarasin, F. 1913. Die Vögel Neu-Caledoniens und der Loyalty-Inseln. In Nova Caledonia: Forschungen in Neu-Caledonian und auf den Loyalty-Inseln. A. Zoologie vol. 1, Heft I (F. Sarasin & J. Roux, eds) pp. 1-78, pl. 1-3. C. W. Kreidels Verlag: Wiesbaden.

[Sch66] Schlegel, H. 1866. Communication from, on mammals and birds collected in Madagascar. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 419-426.

[Scl66] Sclater, P. L. 1866. Report on birds collected at Windvogelberg, South Africa, by Capt. G. E. Bulger, C. M. Z. S. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 21-23.

[S18] Stone, W. 1918. Birds of the Panama Canal Zone, with special reference to a collection made by Mr. Lindsey L. Jewel. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 70: 239-280.

[USDI77] USDI (United States Department of the Interior). 1977. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants—republication of list of species. Federal Register 42: 36420-36431.

[VP89] Viney, C., & K. Phillipps. 1989. Birds of Hong Kong 5th ed. Government Printer: Hong Kong.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M. & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1-126.

[WH02] Worthy, T. H., & R. N. Holdaway. 2002. The Lost World of the Moa: Prehistoric life of New Zealand. Indiana University Press: Bloomington (Indiana).

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