A hobby is a fairly small, very swift falcon with long, narrow wings. There are four birds called hobby, and three others which, although termed falcon, are very similar. All specialise in catching prey on the wing.

  • The Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo), also known as the Northern Hobby.
  • The African Hobby (Falco cuvierii).
  • The Oriental Hobby (Falco severus).
  • The Australian Hobby or Little Falcon (Falco longipennis) is uncommon but widespread in Australia. During the southern winter, some birds migrate to the north of the continent or to the islands of South-east Asia.
  • The New Zealand Falcon or New Zealand Hobby (Falco novaeseelandiae).
  • The Sooty Falcon (Falco concolor) of the North African desert.
  • Eleonora’s Falcon (Falco eleonorae) occupies the Mediterranean area during the northern summer, and migrates south to Madagascar for the southern summer.

Hobbies are superb aerialists. Although they will take prey on the ground if the opportunity presents itself, most prey is caught in the wing: insects by hawking, birds are flown down: even swifts and swallows cannot outpace or outmanouver a hobby.