Red-footed Falcons in Berlin and Brandenburg

RotfußfalkeIn case of observations of Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) it is important to rule out other small falcons. The type of hovering of the Red-footed Falcon is often called useful for species identification. In a case of observation in the Lower Flaeming, 50km south of Berlin, this was very helpful. The gentle hilly landscape of the Lower Flaming south of the medieval town of Jueterbog is agriculturally used. Therefore irrigation systems and electricity pylons are almost the only landmarks. Red-footed Falcon can see you from afar. And you might realize Red-footed Falcon from a distance as well – if you are aware of their field marks. Two Red-footed Falcons were sitting on power lines in the hilly landscape of the Lower Flaming. One of the Red-footed Falcons flies off, sweeping over a harvested potato field at a remarkable speed, then rises and hovers. A little later the birds dives down to earth and comes up a little later with a big insect in the clutches.

Flight pattern was quite good to observe. The Red-footed Falcon in its graceful and agile flight behavior is generally located between the Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) and the Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo) and may sometimes have traits of both Falcons. The Red-footed Falcon has a quick and agile cross-country flight on its back wings, often lifting its talons at the last moment to catch prey (like a Eurasian Hobby); but hunt again and again from a fixed position or hovers like a Eurasian Kestrel. Red-footed Falcons fly with a fairly stiff, regular wing beat and can then even be a remembrance of the Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) in flight. This effect is reinforced by its relatively long tail, too.

During the sighting I was impressed how well the Red-footed Falcons could be approached on a short distance. Various authors (such as Gensbol in his Guide to the Birds of Prey of Britain and Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, 1987) describe Red-footed Falcons as rather shy. I could see both Red-footed hawks as remarkably tame. As I said, the couple had settled on a power line. The approaching car made them fly from about 10 m distance without much haste or alarm signs. Then the Red-footed Falcons took back their place on the same line a few yards away.

Red-footed Falcons have been spotted in the last days of August 2019 with increasingly frequency. This is especially true for northeastern Germany, especially in the district of Vorpommern-Greifswald and in the wider area of ​​the Baltic Sea. And this in some notable numbers. So 6 red-footed falcons were seen near the Greifswalder Oie. In the vicinity of the Flaeming 2 proofs-of-sighting from the last days are available. On the one hand from the Spreewald (near Leibsch) and from the Spremberg dam in Lusatia. A influx has probably just begun.

It will be seen if the invasion will gradually end around mid-September, as in previous events.

To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western Palearctic. Trips to remote places to capture images not only of rare birds of western Palearctic were very successful. The nice image of the blog is only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Picture Shop” very soon. Just give a message, if could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.

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