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Eleonora’s Falcon

Eleonora’s Falcon

This bird is the jewel in the crown for the Island and a target species for most birdwatchers visiting the region. It arrives late in April and leaves early November after just breeding as it times this with migrants arriving during October. There are several hundred pairs that breed on the Island the majority on the western coast as well as some very large colonies on Cabrera, Dragonera, Cap Formentor and a smaller colony at Cala Sant Vincenç. It can be seen in many locations on the Island before breeding such as feeding over the Albufera in the early evening for insects and during the day large flocks hunt various nearby open forest areas, especially for local beetles and the areas around Albufera and especially Son Bosc, can very productive and in the summer of 2016 over 200 were on the wing at the same time just before dusk. August onwards the best places are the breeding colonies at Cap Formentor where they fly over the sea as well as some close up views from the lighthouse car park.If you get a boat trip or a guided tour to the Isla de Dragonera or Cabrera where during late October they can be seen hunting from the cliffs and appear to be fishing in the sea when in fact they catching exhausted migrants as they arrive from Europe. It has recently been established that migrants caught are actually stored alive in crevices at the nest sites. The young also fledge at this time and learn to hunt from the nest sites on the cliffs before they fly the long journey to their wintering grounds in Madagascar. These sites require boat trips to obtain great views however it is advisable to book these trips in advance but to see the spectacular acrobatics performed by these Falcons is unforgettable, so not only great value but you will see spectacular scenery and both Cabrera and Dragonera are fantastic places when you arrive at the harbours to go for one of the many walks and on the boat trips you can often see both the Balearic and Cory’s Shearwater. You can also see them at the Boquer Valley and Cases Velles but these are not guaranteed and the many miradors on the road from Puerto Pollensa to Cap Formentor are all worth a stop as they can often be seen as well as breeding Peregrine falcons.

If you decide to take the boat trip to CABRERA to see these spectacular birds there are many other great species such as both Shearwaters as well as breeding Ospreys. There are two companies operating out of Colonia Sant Jordi offering different trips by speedboat, the classic which is a full day trip, express a boat direct to the parc, fast which is a three-hour speedboat around the island
all are recommended.

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Technical description

Eleonora’s Falcon (Falco eleonorae) is a medium-sized falcon. It belongs to the hobby group, a rather close-knit number of similar falcons often considered a subgenus Hypotriorchis. The bird is named after Eleonor of Arborea, national heroine of Sardinia. Eleonora’s falcon is an elegant bird of prey, 36–42 cm (14–17 in) long with an 87–104 cm (34–41 in) wingspan. It is shaped like a large Eurasian hobby or a small slender peregrine falcon, with its long pointed wings, long tail and slim body. There are two colour morphs: The adult dark morph is all sooty brown, with black underwing coverts. The light morph is more like a juvenile Eurasian hobby, but has buff underparts and also shows the contrast between the black underwing coverts and paler base to the flight feathers. Young birds are also like a large juvenile hobby, but the pale underparts contrast with darker wingtips and wing coverts. The call is a typical falcon kek-kek-kek. The Eleonora's winter in one place in the world the island of Madagascar off Africa a place which is full of endemic species but to think that it holds the entire European population of this falcon but is now under massive threat from humans cutting down the forests for logging rights.

Places the Eleonora’s Falcon can be found at

Other birds that can be found in Mallorca