About the size of a kestrel with long pointed wings, reminiscent of a giant swift. It has a dashing flight and will chase large insects and small birds like swallows and martins. Prey is often caught in its talons and transferred to its beak in flight. Can accelerate rapidly in flight and is capable of high-speed aerial manoeuvres.
Numbers of Hobbies in Gloucestershire have increased since 1980. The 2003-07 Cotswolds Atlas reported confirmed breeding in 9 tetrads compared to just 1 tetrad 20 years earlier, and in 2009 it was estimated that there were at least 21 breeding pairs in the whole county. Hobbies occur across much of the county but they seem to avoid not only treeless areas but also heavily wooded regions. They have bred in the Forest of Dean, but most sightings there are of individual birds. Since the late 1980’s most years have produced double-figure counts at the Cotswold Water Park, particularly during May. Another favoured site is the Frampton area, in lower numbers.
Size, habitat and diet
Weight: M: 180g F: 240g
World distribution: Breeds: Eurasia, Winters: S Eurasia, Africa
Habitat: Open forest, steppe, farmland
Diet: Small birds and large insects taken in flight
Parent Hobby feeds bird-prey to chicks (RSPB New Forest & Carnyx Wild)