Black Falcon (species: Falco (Falco) subniger) in Cairns and Surrounds (Gaia Guide)
Falco (Falco) subniger
Black Falcon

©Tom Tarrant: Black Falcon (Falco (Falco) subniger)

©Stuart H.: Black Falcon (Falco (Falco) subniger)

©David Cook: Black Falcon (Falco (Falco) subniger)
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Falconiformes
Family Falconidae
Genus Falco
Species Falco (Falco) subniger
Status least concern



Distinguishing features

It is dark brown to black in colour with a relatively pale chin and face.

It is fast flying for its size with tapering, pointed wings. 

First year birds are a dark black in colour fading to browner black in successive years.


  • From 52 cm to 56 cm (Length of specimen) - applies to Females
  • From 45 cm to 54 cm (Length of specimen) - applies to Males


  • From 95 cm to 115 cm



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution: Black Falcon (Falco (Falco) subniger)

Distribution and habitat preferences

It lives only in Australia. It is mainly found in open grasslands and woodlands in the semi arid inland parts of Australia. (Wikipedia)


Its prey is mainly birds, such as quail, various parrot species, finches, magpies, crows, starlings etc. It often takes prey on the wing either in the stoop or stooping into a chase. It also eats ground-dwelling animals such as lizards, rabbits, rats, mice and small marsupials.

It is well known as a pirate of other species of raptors such as Harriers, Kestrels and Kites. They will often hunt at the edges of bush fires for fleeing prey.

It is one of the few falcons which have been observed eating carrion. (Wikipedia)

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