Amur Falcon (Falco amurensis)

Amur Falcon

[order] FALCONIFORMES | [family] Falconidae | [latin] Falco amurensis | [authority] Radde, 1863 | [UK] Amur Falcon | [FR] Faucon de l’Amour | [DE] Amurfalke | [ES] Cernicalo del Amur | [NL] Oostaziatische Roodpootvalk


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Falco amurensis EU e


Members of the genus falco are mostly medium-sized falcons, but vary from the large peregrine falcon to the small American kestrel. The wings are long and pointed and used almost continuously during flight. The bill is short, powerful, and with a distinct ‘tooth’ on each side. Most falcons of this group have a black teardrop-shaped ‘mustache’ mark on each side of the head. Falcons are fastflying birds of open country and are famous for attaining high speeds as they dive from high altitudes to knock birds out of the air.

Physical charateristics

A small, slender bird of prey, with long, pointed wings, the Amur falcon is noteworthy for undertaking one of the most arduous annual migrations of any bird of prey. The male is a largely dark grey bird, with a chestnut lower belly and thighs, and a white underwing, visible in flight. The dark plumage contrasts with the bright orange-red legs and facial skin, and the orange base to the beak. The female is similar in size to the male, but differs markedly in plumage, having cream or orange underparts, with dark streaks and bars, grey upperparts with a slaty-coloured head and cream forehead, and bars and spots on the wings and tail, which have broad, dark tips. The cheeks and throat are plain white, and the face bears a dark eye patch and ?moustache’. The juvenile resembles the female, but may be paler, with reddish-brown or buff edges to the feathers. Once considered a subspecies of the red-footed falcon, Falco vespertinus, differences in the plumage, body shape and range of the Amur falcon have led to its classification as a separate species.

Listen to the sound of Amur Falcon

[audio: Falcon.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

recorded by Christoph Bock

wingspan min.: 60 cm wingspan max.: 70 cm
size min.: 26 cm size max.: 30 cm
incubation min.: 28 days incubation max.: 30 days
fledging min.: 30 days fledging max.: 30 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 6  


Eurasia : East. From eastern Siberia, east through Amurland to Ussuriland, and south through northeast Mongolia and Manchuria, to North Korea and northern and eastern China.


The Amur falcon typically inhabits open woodland, including marshy and riverine woodland, as well as wooded steppe. In winter, it may be found in savanna and grassland, roosting communally in clumps of trees, and may even roost in towns.


Most nesting is solitary, or in small colonies. The nest may be built in a tree hole, or the breeding pair may take over an old nest of a corvid. Three to four eggs are laid (sometimes up to six), usually between May and June, and hatch after an incubation period of around 28 to 30 days. Both the male and female help incubate and feed the chicks, which fledge after about a month. The Amur falcon may reach sexual maturity in its first year

Feeding habits

The Amur falcon feeds mainly on insects, including locusts, grasshoppers, beetles, and flying termites and ants. Small birds and some amphibians may also be taken. Most hunting takes place in the early morning or late evening, with prey usually caught and eaten in flight, or taken from the ground. The Amur falcon may sometimes hover while searching for prey.

Video Amur Falcon


copyright: Eldert Groenewoud


This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km2. It has a large global population estimated to be 100,000-1,000,000 individuals (Ferguson-Lees et al. 2001). Global population trends have not been quantified, but populations appear to be stable (Ferguson-Lees et al. 2001) so the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The Amur falcon has a wide distribution, breeding across Asia, from eastern Siberia, east through Amurland to Ussuriland, and south through northeast Mongolia and Manchuria, to North Korea and northern and eastern China. The species may also breed in northeast India. The Amur falcon spends the northern winter in the southern Hemisphere, in sub-Saharan Africa, mainly from Malawi to South Africa. During migration, the Amur falcon may pass through parts of India, East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
Amur Falcon status Least Concern


Migratory, travelling massive distance between E Asia and S Africa. Often migrates in large groups, of up to thousands, sometimes in company of F. naumanni or other small falcons. Leaves N breeding grounds in second half of Sept; possibly flies over Indian Ocean, from India to E Africa; reaches winter quarters, mainly from Malawi S to Transvaal, in late Nov and early Dec; leaves late Feb and mainly Mar, and reaches breeding grounds in Apr and early May

Distribution map

Amur Falcon distribution range map


Title Amur Falcon is now an annual visitor to Seychelles
Author(s): unknown
Abstract: Amur Falcon was not recorded in Seychelles until 1..[more]..
Source: Seychelles Bird Records Committee

download full text (pdf)

Title Raptor migration at Hoang Lien Nature Reserve,
northern Vietnam
Abstract: Between 13 and 25 October 1997, a total of 1,884 m..[more]..
Source: FORKTAIL 18 (2002): 45-48

download full text (pdf)

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