Recently I was reading Brugsch's History of Egypt and he describes the figure of Horus as being that of a "sparrowhawk". Now, I have the greatest respect for Brugsch and consider him the best Egyptologist by a margin, but anyone who knows anything about birds, can tell Horus is not a sparrowhawk. I am no serious bird watcher, but even I can tell the difference between a sparrowhawk and a falcon.
The question, however, is what kind of falcon is he? There would seem to be two candidates: the Barbary Falcon and the Lanner Falcon, both of which are commonly found in Egypt. I have three theories:
(1) The two types of falcon (Barbary and Lanner) are quite similar to each other, so Horus is considered to be indifferently either one of them and the Egyptians drew no special distinction between the two species.
(2) Horus is a Barbary Falcon because that type of falcon tends to have stronger, more distinctive facial markings and a rounder head, both characteristics of the stereotype of Horus.
(3) Horus is a Lanner Falcon, and specifically a female because the female Lanner Falcon is very large and majestic compared to all other types of falcons and hunts in a majestic way, descending from tall cliffs.
Would there be a reason for preferring one of these theories (or some other)?