The Laughing Falcon

6 01 2013

Here’s a picture taken from our backyard of Jerry (I’ve named his girlfriend Elaine), one of our laughing falcons – Falconidae Herpetotheres cachinnans.

Laughing Falcon

Their common and scientific names both refer to their distinctive voices, which sometimes sound like maniacal laughter – especially when they are startled. Their English name comes from their loud voices, as does the specific name cachinnans, Latin for “laughing aloud” or “laughing immoderately”. Jerry and Elaine are raptors who specialize in eating snakes, so they commonly are perched high to pick up any movement on the ground or in trees. The generic name Herpetotheres refers to its preferred food; it is Latinized Ancient Greek, derived from [h]erpeton (ἑρπετόν, “reptile”) + therizein (θερίζειν, “to mow down”).  You can listen to his unique laughing sound here.   The first time I heard him, I came running out of our place to see who was making that sound. Cracked me up!




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