Falco subbuteo


The Hobby is a small falcon, smaller than a Kestrel. With their long wings and streamlined shape, they are perfectly evolved for catching dragonflies and small birds, such as House Martins and Swifts, on the wing, often transferring their quarry from talon to mouth in mid-air. They are a migratory species, coming to Britain in summer to breed and wintering in Africa. Hobbies can be seen hunting over heathlands, flooded gravel pits and woodland edges.

How to identify

The Hobby is an elegant little falcon, slate-grey above and pale below with black streaks on the belly and brick red 'trousers'. They have a white throat and cheeks, dark moustache and mask. With their pointed wings, they look like over-sized swifts in the air.

Where to find it

A summer visitor to the south and east of England and South Wales. A very rare visitor to Scotland.


When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

How can people help

The loss of our wetland and heathland habitats to development, drainage and agricultural improvements, is a threat for many of our bird species, such as the Hobby. The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland and heathland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and be helping local wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Falco subbuteo
Birds of prey
Length: 33-38cm Wingspan: 87cm Weight: 180-240g Average Lifespan: 5 years
Conservation status
Common. Listed under CITES Appendix I.