Saturday, 15 March 2008

Special birds: Red-footed Falcon

Now here is a true Eastern European bird, the petite Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus. They typically breed in colonies, often in rookeries, though sometimes they take whatever nests are available (those of Magpie, Hooded Crow) and then pairs are more spaced out. Lowland Hungary is a stronghold, and they also breed in Romania, Bulgaria, northern Croatia and Serbia, and a few are found in the very east of Slovakia. They winter in Africa. This photo of an adult male with his blue-grey plumage, red bill, rusty undertail coverts and orangy-red feet, was taken in Hungary. Females are quite different, having a rusty-orange crown and underparts, barred upperparts and a black mask.

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