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econd group contains slightly larger (on average) species, the hobbies and relatives. These birds are characterized by considerable amounts of dark slate-gray in their plumage; their malar areas are nearly always black. They feed mainly on smaller birds. Third are the peregrine falcon and its relatives, variably sized powerful birds that also have a black malar area (except some very light color morphs), and often a black cap, as well. They are very fast birds with a maximum speed of 390 kilometres per hour. Otherwise, they are somewhat intermediate between the other groups, being chiefly medium gray with some lighter or brownish colors on their upper sides. They are, on average, more delicately patterned than the hobbies and, if the hierofalcons are excluded (see below), this group typically contains species with horizontal barring on their undersides. As opposed to the other groups, where tail color varies much in general bu t little according to evolutionary relatedness,[note 1] However, the fox and greater kestrels can be told apart at first glance by their tail colors, but not by much else; they might be very close relatives and are probably much closer to each other than the lesser and common kestrels. The tails of the large falcons are quite uniformly dark gray with inconspicuous black banding and small, white tips, though this is probably plesiomorphic. These large Falco species feed on mid-sized birds and terrestrial vertebrates. Very similar to these, and sometimes included therein, are the four or so species of hierofalcons (literally, "hawk-falcons"). They represent taxa with, usually, more phaeomelanins, which impart reddish or brown colors,

nd generally more strongly patterned plumage reminiscent of hawks. Their undersides have a lengthwise pattern of blotches, lines, or arrowhead marks. While these three or four groups, loosely circumscribed, are an informal arrangement, they probably contain several distinct clades in their entirety. A study of mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data of some kestrels identified a clade containing the common kestrel and related "malar-striped" species, to the exclusion of such taxa as the greater kestrel (which lacks a malar stripe), the less