Gyr Falcon hybrid

When ‘escape’ and  ‘hybrid’ can still look cool.

Bit of a ‘blast from the past’. 16th July 2008. Alan Amery radioed through to say Mick Sharpe had found a dark falcon on the cliff top near Sandy Beaches, Spurn. This was the baby we found. To me it straightaway looked big (almost Buzzard-height, even without comparisons). With its rings and radio ‘wire’ it was clearly a falconer’s escape. Nevertheless, I thought it might be a dark morph Gyr Falcon presumably of the darkest stock of Newfoundland/ Canada. I took some shots as it ranged up and down the peninsular scaring everything in sight. In fact it proved too dark even for the darkest Canadian Gyr photos I could find. At the moment my limited understanding is that this is known as a ‘Black Gyr Falcon’. A domestic form bred to emphasis the dark colour. I think it was also reported to be a Gyr/ Prairie Falcon hybrid or something? Not sure.

juvenile Gyr Falcon /hybrid. Spurn 16th July 2008. The pale blue cere (fleshy bit over the bill base) and pale blue fleshy eye ring age it as a juvenile together with its very fresh plumage.

some great photos of dark (wild) juvenile  Newfoundland Gyr Falcon here.  First photo below by Mick Sharpe , the rest MG’s.



One thought on “Gyr Falcon hybrid

  1. Brian Lancastle

    On 20th and 26th February 1977 I saw a very similar looking falcon at Collister Pill, nr Undy, Gwent. It had been seen on earlier dates but I would have to check the relevant Gwent Bird Report for these.
    At the time, I am sure that it was being reported as an immature Peregrine and through a lack of experience with the species thought this to be the case. However, I have always had a nagging doubt about its identification and in the intervening years I have never encountered another ‘large’ uniformly dark brown Peregrine; the Spurn ‘falcon’ appears to be very similar.
    The Gwent bird may have been a falconers’ escape but it was unringed and not wearing jesses.


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