115 Saker (Falcon)
(Falco cherrug)


47-55cm. Large, almost as Gyr Falcon, and resembles that in flight silhouette, with rather broad wings with blunt tips. Separated with practice by slightly narrower wings and slimmer base of tail and ‘hips’, but as a rule necessary to consider plumage characters as well. Adult, normal: Most birds distinguished from similar Lanner by tawny-brown back and inner wing, contrasting with darker grey flight-feathers almost as on female Kestrel. Head usually rather pale brown, with whitish supercilium, crown finely streaked, moustachial stripe narrow, indistinct on many, more prominent on some; some look almost white-headed at distance. Uppertail often looks uniform brown when folded, but variable amount of buff bars present on outer or all tail-feathers. Underparts usually prominently streaked from lower throat and down, often boldly on flanks, and often ‘trousers’ are all dark . Underwing similar to Lanner, with more or less contrasting dark underwing-coverts forming a dark forewing.


In Hungary the Saker Falcon bred until recently in small numbers in hilly areas on trees and cliffs. Its Hungarian population which formerly decreased to 20 pairs, has been gradually growing since the 1980s, partly as a result of conservation activities. Now more common in lowlands, where it breeds in gallery woods, open forests, windbreaks, as well as in nesting platforms on high-voltage electricity pylons. Migrant. The majority of Sakers stays in Hungary between February and November, though part of the population mostly adults overwinters.

115 Saker (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