Status in Northern Ireland:
Irregular summer visitor. Breeding is suspected but no nests found to date.
A small but powerful falcon, the Hobby is sometimes described as a ‘mini Peregrine with red thighs’. Adult plumage is the same for both sexes, with slatey-grey upperparts, a thin white supercilium and strong ‘moustache’ markings with a prominent white throat and collar. The underparts are pale and heavily streaked apart from the thighs and under-tail feathers, which are strongly rufous. The Hobby is a summer visitor, arriving from
Africa in April and May and leaving again in September and October. An exceptionally agile hunter, it preys predominantly on dragonflies and small birds such as swifts, martins and swallows, regularly catching its prey on the wing and consuming it in flight. The Hobby often utilises old crow nests for breeding. Typically a lowland species and commonly seen hunting around gravel pits and other wetlands where there is abundant prey.