Amur Falcon.. Rietvlei Dam..

Amur Falcon (Falco amurensis)

The Amur Falcon, previously known as Eastern Red-footed Falcon, is a small raptor of the falcon family. It breeds in south-eastern Siberia and Northern China, wintering in Southern Africa. This bird is far from home…


The birds diet consists mainly of insects, such as termites.

Males are characteristically dark sooty colour (grey), the chestnut on the vent should prevent miss identification with the Gabar Goshawk. Also there may be some superficial resemblance to Sooty Falcon and Grey Kestrel, but those two species both have yellow feet and cere. Separating male Amur and Red-footed Falcons is best done by the white under-wing coverts on Amur Falcon, whereas the under-wing of male Red-footed Falcons is uniformly grey.

Females may offer a bit more confusion with a wider range of falcons as they have a typical falcon head pattern. The grey on the top of the head should quickly rule out confusion with Red-footed Falcons. The female has barring on the lower belly. Red cere and feet this rules out all other falcons.

These photos are of a Male Amur Falcon…

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61 thoughts on “Amur Falcon.. Rietvlei Dam..

  1. And they migrate each year back and forth? Amazing how these birds know their way. As do whales and many other migrating species.
    Humans have lost so many instincts… but we do have GPS 😉

    • Yes Marion, was fascinates me if they head here for summer then return for the summer there why don’t they just stop in the tropics and stay there permanently…. one of the fascinating things of nature we will never have an answer to…

  2. well it is liking it where it is now! that is one fat falcon, does it fly all the way back next? no wonder it is putting on the pies.. oh and thank you for the map, a picture really does paint a thousand words!.. c

  3. Once again … stunning photos of a gorgeous bird. My favorite one is the second last .. were it looks straight at you. We have falcons too – loads in my county – but I always see them when I’m in a car or in a bus.

    • Thank you… that one did come out well.. I’m pleasantly surprised with the results I got of this shoot, as my eye problems stop me from making any finer adjustments camera wise…

    • Thank you.. when I took these shots I had no idea what it was… it is the first one I’ve seen here or let me put it differently the first I’ve been able to photo well enough to make an ID… Mt son in law actually made the ID… and gave me a head start into the research…

  4. An attractive bird, and one that certainly knows all about navigation! What an incredible distance it travels. How does it carry it’s passport? 🙂

  5. It’s amazing the distances birds will fly. Little hummingbirds fly from the mainland coast of Canada to the Queen Charlotte Islands without a place to rest. I’m not sure in miles how far it is but it takes a fishboat about 8 hours from land to land. (Roughly estimated). I’ll find out how far it is. But this tiny bird flies so far without a chance to rest. Love your posts on birds and animals, Rob.

    • Thank you for the complement… It always amazes me the distances and the speed with which they make these journeys… one of the things I picked up when researching this bird is… and I quote…”Every year, more than 100,000 Amur Falcons are hunted for food at Nagaland during their passage between breeding and wintering grounds.” that is a large number to loose on their way here…

      • I just did a rough check on the map and using the scale on Google maps it looks like the shortest distance between the mainland of the west coast of Canada and the Queen Charlotte Islands (renamed now “Haida Gwaii”) is about 50 kms but most places the distance is more like 100 to 150 kms. And how would the hummingbirds know which is the shortest route? It’s a long way to go in one stretch without being able to land on anything but water.

        • I read an article on migrating birds how some reach enormous heights and glide on wind streams, also the amount of energy they use whilst makeing these flights… as to how they navigate ..?? .. with the experts saying they have built in means of detecting magnetic lines etc.. I just find it beyond belief… Now a humming bird that has to flap its wings so much more than a normal bird of its size must use a huge amount of energy making that flight… as to their navigation… it boggles the mind.. without compasses or GPS we would more than likely get lost…

    • Thank you… it was a lucky find and took me a while to actually ID the bird… my SIL walked into the room looked over my shoulder and ID it for me… these youngsters.!!

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