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


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

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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