The freckled hawkfish (Paracirrhites forsteri), also known as the forster’s hawkfish, has a habit of sitting in strategic raised spots on the reef, with its head sticking upwards. From there they view their territory and pounce down on unsuspecting prey, very much as a hawk would, hence their name.
As a juvenile, the freckled hawkfish is a brownish color with a yellow tail. The fish undergoes several color changes during its lifetime. The adult freckled hawkfish may be pink, brown, or an olive color. However the color of the freckles are constant throughout its lifetime. Freckled hawkfish have large heads, with somewhat elongated bodies. The tails are rounded and truncated, the pectoral fins are large and are without scales. At the tip of each spine are trailing filaments. They can grow up to 15 centimeters (6″) but are seldom seen this size in the ocean.
IN THE WILD
With large and skinless pectorals, freckled hawkfish, are able to perch on corals which would often sting other fish. This provides them a measure of protection on their perches. They are usually always solitary and will defend their territory against others of their species. On very rare occasions two may be seen together. They are a common species on the East Coast of Africa.
At night when hiding they have the ability to change their colouring as can be seen in the image below.
Freckled Hawkfish are found across the Indo Pacific area mainly on coral reefs.
This fish is a predatory carnivore as its name suggests and its main diet consists of small fishes and crustaceans, such as shrimps and crabs.
Freckled hawkfish are easy to keep and are ideal for beginners. Note that they actively hunt crustaceans and smaller fish, so it should be the last fish introduced to a semi-aggressive to aggressive community of fish. The freckled hawkfish is very territorial and will harass new aquarium additions including other hawkfish as well as fish that are much larger than itself. Their diet in an aquarium should include a variety of marine meats, frozen preparations, and live feeder shrimp.
FRECKLED HAWKFISH CLASSIFICATION
Species: P. forsteri