Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus)

The Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) is a bird of prey. It belongs to the family Falconidae, the falcons.

Red-footed Falcon

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.

Juvenile Red-footed Falcon
Juvenile Juvenile Red-footed Falcon
Red-footed Falcon

Red-footed Falcon

Description

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.

Red-footed Falcon Juvenile in flight
Juvenile Red-footed Falcon

Red-footed Falcon

Breeding / Nesting

This falcon is a colonial breeder, reusing the old nests of corvids, such as Rooks. It lays 2-4 eggs.

Birds of PreyFalcon InformationThe Sport of Falconry

Photo of author

Team Beauty of Birds

Beautyofbirds.com's team of experts includes veterinarians, biologists, environmentalists and active bird watchers. All put together, we have over half a century of experience in the birding space.

You can meet our team here.