Falco femoralis - Temminck, 1822
Aplomado Falcon
Other Common Names: Falcão-de-Coleira, Gavião-Coleira
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Falco femoralis Temminck, 1822 (TSN 175610)
French Common Names: Faucon aplomado
Spanish Common Names: Halcón Fajado, Halcón Plomizo
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.106241
Element Code: ABNKD06040
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Raptors
Image 11627

© Larry Master

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Falconiformes Falconidae Falco
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Falco femoralis
Taxonomic Comments: See Olsen et al. (1989) for a study of relationships within the genus Falco based on electrophoretic patterns of feather proteins.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 05Jan1997
Global Status Last Changed: 05Jan1997
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N1 (10Feb1997)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Arizona (SH), New Mexico (SHB,S1N), Texas (S1)

Other Statuses

Implied Status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): PS
Comments on USESA: Subspecies septentrionalis of Texas, Guatemala and Mexico is listed by USFWS as Endangered (Federal Register 25 February 1986). The FWS has proposed to reintroduce northern aplomado falcons into their historic habitat in southern New Mexico and Arizona (Federal Register, 9 February 2005).

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Protection Status (CITES): Appendix II

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: RESIDENT: formerly north to southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, and west-central and southern Texas; has become scarce in the northern part of the range; last verified breeding in the U.S. was in New Mexico in 1952 and in Texas in 1941 and 1995; unconfirmed report from Arizona in the late 1960s (AOU 1983). Now occurs mainly from Sinaloa, Chihuahua, and Tamaulipas south locally to Chiapas, Yucatan and Belize; also eastern Honduras and northeastern Nicaragua, and from western Panama south through all of South America. Populations in Chihuahua verified in 1993 (Montoya et al. 1997). Unbanded individuals were recorded in New Mexico and Texas in the early 1990s. Reintroduction in the U.S. is underway (recent nesting in Texas was by captive-propagated birds).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Some of the former U.S. breeding range has been altered by an increase in mesquite and conversion of grassland to farmland (Texas coast, Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas, and Animas Valley in New Mexico). In many places, permanent desert streams have been channelized and riparian habitats eliminated. Habitat changes have directly impacted the falcon and some (e.g., degradation of grassland habitat by excessive cattle grazing) also have resulted in reductions in avian prey populations. Heavily contaminated with DDT residues in eastern Mexico. Pesticide contamination has resulted in eggshell thinning effects at least as great as those observed in peregrines (Hector 1987).

Short-term Trend Comments: Currently regarded as uncommon and probably declining in Mexico; status of Central American population is unknown (Matthews and Moseley 1990). Reintroduction efforts in the southwestern U.S. may eventually result in some recovery there.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) RESIDENT: formerly north to southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, and west-central and southern Texas; has become scarce in the northern part of the range; last verified breeding in the U.S. was in New Mexico in 1952 and in Texas in 1941 and 1995; unconfirmed report from Arizona in the late 1960s (AOU 1983). Now occurs mainly from Sinaloa, Chihuahua, and Tamaulipas south locally to Chiapas, Yucatan and Belize; also eastern Honduras and northeastern Nicaragua, and from western Panama south through all of South America. Populations in Chihuahua verified in 1993 (Montoya et al. 1997). Unbanded individuals were recorded in New Mexico and Texas in the early 1990s. Reintroduction in the U.S. is underway (recent nesting in Texas was by captive-propagated birds).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AZ, NM, TX

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; WWF-US, 2000


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NM Dona Ana (35013), Grant (35017), Hidalgo (35023), Luna (35029), Otero (35035), Sierra (35051), Socorro (35053)
TX Cameron (48061), Duval (48131)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
12 Middle Nueces (12110105)+, South Laguna Madre (12110208)+
13 Jornada Del Muerto (13020210)+, Elephant Butte Reservoir (13020211)+, El Paso-Las Cruces (13030102)+, Playas Lake (13030201)+, Mimbres (13030202)+, Tularosa Valley (13050003)+, Salt Basin (13050004)+
15 Animas Valley (15040003)+, Cloverdale (15080303)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A bird (hawk).
Reproduction Comments: Egg laying: January-June (mainly March-May, peak in April) in north; begins in April in Trinidad; recorded breeding in mid-January in Venezuela; eggs taken September-October in Chile (Palmer 1988). Clutch size typically is 2-3. Both parents (mainly female) incubate, about 31-32 days (Cade 1982, Evans 1982). Average brood sizes: 1.6 (Montoya et al. 1997), 2.1-2.4 (Hector (1981). Young can fly at 4-5 weeks, may remain in nest area for several weeks more. Pairs remain together throughout the year (Palmer 1988).
Ecology Comments: Breeding season home ranges in Chihuahua of six birds ranged from 3.3 to 21.4 square kilometers (Montoya et al. 1997).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Desert, Grassland/herbaceous, Savanna, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood
Habitat Comments: Open country, especially savanna and open woodland, and sometimes very barren situations (AOU 1983). Grassy plains and valleys with scattered mesquite, yucca, and cactus (Oberholser 1974). Desert grassland in Chihuahua (Montoya et al. 1997). Eastern Mexico: oak savanna, palm savanna, crescentia savanna, huisache savanna, cutover rainforest, fields with scattered trees; areas showing effects of, or created or maintained by, human agricultural activities, and subject to periodic prescribed burns (Hector 1988). In nearly treeless associations in altiplano of Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile (Palmer 1988). Occasionally over marshes and along beaches, and in vicinity of riparian woodlands in more open terrain. Recorded in desert thornscrub in Colombia (Palmer 1988). Woody plant density in 10 territories in Chihuahua ranged from 11.2 to 139.5 plants/ha with a mean of 72.6 (Montoya et al. 1997).

Nests in old stick nests of other bird species (e.g., hawks, ravens); in sites such as bromeliads in tropics. May sometimes nest on cliff. In Chihuahua, six of seven nests were in species of YUCCA; remaining nest was in a honey mesquite (PROSOPIS GLANDULOSA) (Montoya et al. 1997).

Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Feeds on birds (up to rock dove size), insects, small mammals, lizards, and snakes (Terres 1980, Cade 1982). Pairs often hunt together. Birds comprise most of diet biomass in eastern Mexico, but insects also commonly consumed. In Chihuahua, 82 of 87 prey items recovered from pellets were avian and five were insects (Montoya et al. 1997). Nine species of birds (meadowlarks, Common Nighthawk, Northern Mockingbird, Western Kingbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Scott's Oriole, Mourning Dove, Cactus Wren, and Pyrrhuloxia) composed 75.5% of the avian diet, though prey composition differed from potential prey availability on transects (Montoya et al. 1997). Hunts from perch or air. See Palmer (1988) for further details. In eastern Mexico, hunted mainly within 1 km of nest site (Hector 1988).
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal
Phenology Comments: Decidedly crepuscular in hunting habits, often catching prey after sunset; not very active in middle of day (Cade 1982).
Length: 45 centimeters
Weight: 410 grams
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: Bird watchers visiting the Laguna Atascoa area near Brownsville, Texas, contribute almost $8.5 million annually to the Cameron County economy (End. Sp. Bull. 20(4):9).
Management Summary
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Management Requirements: Prescribed burns and brush removal have been recommended as part of the recovery plan for the southwestern U.S.; leaving scttered trees in areas subject to brush clearing would provide potential nest sites (Evans 1982). See also Hector (1988).

Predation by great horned owl has interfered with reintroductions (see Johnsgard 1990).

Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Hawks and Falcons

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Feeding Area, Nest Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding, or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Mapping Guidance: If nest site is separated from feeding area by more than 100 meters, map as separate polygons.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance a compromise between usually relatively small home ranges and obvious mobility of these birds. Home ranges variable, ranging from about 0.5 to about 90 square kilometers; the latter figure refers to nests where birds commuted some distance to feeding grounds. A number of studies give mean home ranges on the order of 7 square kilometers, which equates to a circle with a diameter of about 3 kilometers; three times that home range gives a separation distance of about 10 kilometers. Home ranges: Ferruginous Hawk, mean 5.9 square kilometers in Utah (Smith and Murphy 1973); range 2.4 to 21.7 square kilometers, mean 7.0 square kilometers in Idaho (Olendorff 1993); mean 7.6 square kilometers in Idaho (McAnnis 1990); mean 90 square kilometers in Washington (Leary et al. 1998); Red-tailed Hawk, most forage within 3 kilometers of nest (Kochert 1986); mean spring and summer male home ranges 148 hectares (Petersen 1979); Hawaiian Hawk, 48 to 608 hectares (n = 16; Clarkson and Laniawe 2000); Zone-tailed Hawk, little information, apparent home range 1-2 kilometers/pair in west Texas (Johnson et al. 2000); White tailed Kite, rarely hunts more than 0.8 kilometers from nest (Hawbecker 1942); Prairie Falcon, 26 square kilometers in Wyoming (Craighead and Craighead 1956), 59 to 314 square kilometers (reported by Steenhof 1998); Aplomado Falcon, 2.6 to 9.0 square kilometers (n = 5, Hector 1988), 3.3 to 21.4 square kilometers (n = 10, Montoya et al. 1997). Nest site fidelity: high in Zone-tailed Hawk; all seven west Texas nesting territories occupied in 1975 were reused in 1976 (Matteson and Riley 1981). Swainson's Hawk: In California, dispersal distances from natal sites to subsequent breeding sites ranged from 0 to 18 kilometers, mean 8.8 kilometers (Woodbridge et al. 1995); in contrast, none of 697 nestlings in Saskatchewan returned to the study area; three were found 190, 200 and 310 kilometers away (Houston and Schmutz 1995).
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 3 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Foraging range variable; 3 kilometers is the mean diameter in several species.
Date: 13Mar2001
Author: Cannings, S.

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Foraging area, Roosting area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of wintering birds (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, usually minimally a reliable observation of 5 birds (this can be reduced to 1 individual for rarer species). Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 20 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; set at 10 kilometers to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. However, occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 15Apr2002
Author: Cannings, S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 24Aug1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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