Aspects of the ecology of the Grey Falcon Falco hypoleucos in the South Australian arid zone

Breeding productivity and diet of the Grey Falcon Falco hypoleucos were recorded in the Strzelecki Creek region of arid north-eastern South Australia in 1982–85 and 1995–2000, by systematic searches for nests (n = 4 found), inspection of their contents on repeat visits within a season by climbing or by pole-mounted mirror, and by analysis of prey remains and pellets collect from within and beneath nests. One nesting pair was found in each of 1982 (C/2 failed), 1984 (B/2 chicks), 1996 (B/3 chicks) and 1998 (B/3 feathered nestlings ~5 weeks old). Nests were vacant stick nests of Black Kites Milvus migrans and corvids in the canopies of Coolibahs Eucalyptus coolabah, and laying occurred in August–September (n = 4 clutches/broods). Diet was entirely birds (n = 20 prey items from the three nests with chicks). General habits, interspecifi c confl ict and defence of the nest against humans are described. Ethical issues relating to the banding of the Falcon chicks in 1984 are discussed.

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