110 Red-footed Falcon
(Falco vespertinus)


28-34cm. The Red-footed Falcon is a medium-small falcon, silhouette recalling both Kestrel and Hobby depending on how tail length is perceived. Active flight often Kestrel-like with rather loose wingbeats, but habit of catching insects in flight strongly recalls Hobby. Often hovers, alights on ground, walks, hovers again, etc. Adult male: Unique combination of dark blue-grey body and coverts, dull red ‘trousers’ and undertail, and pale silvery-grey flight-feathers. Cere and feet are deep orange. Adult female: Virtually unstreaked pale rufous-buff underparts; back slate-grey, barred dark; head yellowish-white; feet and cere orange.


The Red-footed Falcon is still a common breeder in Hungary in some lowland woodlands, especially the Hortobágy and Kiskunság areas. However its population has been decreasing in the past few decades. Colonies in rookeries have nearly disappeared, colonial breeding tends to be replaced by solitary nesting in nests of Hooded Crows or Eurasian Magpies. It is less common elsewhere on the Great Plain and only scattered breeder in Transdanubia. Migrant. Stays in Hungary between April and October. Flocks numbering hundreds or up to a thousand can be observed in gathering areas of the Heves Plain, Jászság, Hortobágy and Bihar Plain from August.

110 Red-footed Falcon pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008