The Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) is a bird of prey. It belongs to the family Falconidae, the falcons.
Distribution / Range
This bird is widespread in eastern Europe and Asia. It is migratory, wintering in Africa.
It is a regular wanderer to western Europe, and in August of 2004 a Red-footed Falcon was found in North America for the first time on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
This is a diurnal bird of open country with some trees, often near water.
It is a medium-small, long-winged species. Red-footed Falcons are 28-34cm in length with a wingspan of 65-75cm.
The adult male is all blue-grey, except for his red undertail and legs.
The female has a grey back and wings, orange head and underparts, and a white face with black eye stripe and moustaches.
Young birds are brown above and buff below with dark streaks, and a face pattern like the female.
Diet / Feeding
Its distinctive method of hunting is shared by the Common Kestrel. It regularly hovers, searching the ground below, then makes a short steep dive towards the target.
The Red-footed Falcon’s main prey is large insects, but it will also take small mammals and birds.
Breeding / Nesting
This falcon is a colonial breeder, reusing the old nests of corvids, such as Rooks. It lays 2-4 eggs.