Historical information

The Australian Hobby is a medium-sized falcon of the Falconidae family, similar in look to the larger sized Peregrine Falcon. This species is widespread and can be found across most of mainland Australia and Tasmania, preferring lightly wooded areas such as timbered wetlands, open wooded farmland, and some urban areas. Their diet consists of small birds, bats, and flying insects, which are caught mid-air. They sometimes hunt cooperatively to catch their prey.

This specimen is an accurate depiction of an Australian Hobby.

This specimen is part of a collection of almost 200 animal specimens that were originally acquired as skins from various institutions across Australia, including the Australian Museum in Sydney and the National Museum of Victoria (known as Museums Victoria since 1983), as well as individuals such as amateur anthropologist Reynell Eveleigh Johns between 1860-1880. These skins were then mounted by members of the Burke Museum Committee and put-on display in the formal space of the Museum’s original exhibition hall where they continue to be on display. This display of taxidermy mounts initially served to instruct visitors to the Burke Museum of the natural world around them, today it serves as an insight into the collecting habits of the 19th century.

Significance

This specimen is part of a significant and rare taxidermy mount collection in the Burke Museum. This collection is scientifically and culturally important for reminding us of how science continues to shape our understanding of the modern world. They demonstrate a capacity to hold evidence of how Australia’s fauna history existed in the past and are potentially important for future environmental research.

This collection continues to be on display in the Museum and has become a key part to interpreting the collecting habits of the 19th century.

Physical description

This Australian Hobby has a dark brown cap and cream-coloured half-collar. The back feathers of the bird are also a dark brown colour, while the neck is a cream with lighter brown streaks. The flank is a dappled dark brown, rufous-brown and cream, which transitions back into cream with brown streaks near the legs. The underwing feathers appear to be a banded dark brown and cream. The tip of the hooked beak is black which recedes to light blue-grey and then to yellowish near the head join. The legs are also yellow. The specimen is perched on a wooden perch mount with a swing tag tied around its left leg.

Inscriptions & markings

23. / Australian Hobby / See catalogue, page, 6 /