Historical information

The Brown Falcon is a small to medium bird of prey which can be found all throughout Australia. These birds are raptors and typically feed on mammals, birds, snakes, insects and rabbits. The Brown Falcon are located in all but the densest forests. They typically prefer to reside in locations of open grassland and agricultural areas which have scattered trees or telephone poles which the bird can perch on. When frequenting towns located in the Australian Outback, these birds are reportedly quite tame and can be approached by humans. They may stay in the same location throughout the year or chose to move around locally in response to any changes in weather conditions.

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


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

The Brown Falcon specimen has plumage which is mostly brown and intermixed with white. This provides the appearance of having spotted colouring on the birds back. The head is also mostly brown with white under the beak area and a characteristic brown streak under the eye area. The eye is made from dark coloured glass.

Inscriptions & markings

3 / Brown Hawk / See Catalogue, page 2 /