Family Falcons, Caracaras (Falconidae)

Near Threatened

Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus)


French: Faucon kobez German: Rotfußfalke Spanish: Cernícalo patirrojo
Other common names: Western Red-footed Falcon

Falco vespertinus


, 1766,

Ingria = Province of St Petersburg, west Russia


Very close to F. amurensis, with which has frequently been considered conspecific. Monotypic.


C Europe (from Estonia, Slovakia and Hungary) E through NC Asia to extreme NW China and upper R Lena. Winters mainly in SW Africa, from Angola, Namibia and N South Africa through Botswana to Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Descriptive notes

27–32 cm; male 115–190 g, female 130–197 g; wingspan 65–77 cm. Mostly slate-grey, contrasting with chestnut lower belly, undertail-coverts and thighs... read more


Noisier than some other falcons, both when moving in flocks and at pre-roost gatherings, e.g. high-... read more


Open habitats with some tree cover for perching, roosting and breeding. Steppe, wooded steppe,... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly insects, especially Orthoptera (crickets, locusts, grasshoppers); also beetles, dragonflies, butterflies, moths, cicadas. Wide... read more


Laying mostly at end of May, but overall season lasts mid Apr to Aug. Solitary or colonial, with tens and up to 100s of pairs at colonies.... read more


Migratory, travelling great distances (mostly at high altitude) between Palearctic breeding areas... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. CITES II. Marked decline, particularly in S of breeding range, probably due, directly or indirectly, to... read more

Recommended citation

Orta, J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 30 March 2020).