Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red List criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - A2abc+3bc+4abc

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2021 Vulnerable A2abc+3bc+4abc
2018 Near Threatened A2bc+3bc+4bc
2016 Near Threatened A2bc+3bc+4bc
2013 Near Threatened A2bc+3bc+4bc
2012 Near Threatened A2bc+3bc+4bc
2008 Near Threatened A2b,c; A3b,c; A4b,c
2005 Near Threatened
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency low
Land-mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 11,900,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 3,360,000 medium
Severely fragmented? no -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Number of mature individuals 287500-400000 medium suspected 2001
Population trend decreasing inferred 2012-2025
Decline % (10 years/3 generations future) 25-45 - - -
Decline % (10 years/3 generations past and future) 25-45 - - -
Generation length (years) 4.11 - - -

Population justification: The European population, forming c.40% of the global population, is estimated to be 115,000-160,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International in prep.). The global population is therefore suspected to be 287,500-400,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification: The European population of 57,800-84,800 pairs (forming c.40% of the global population) (BirdLife International in prep.) suffered a large decline during 1970-1990 (Tucker and Heath 1994), and continued to decline during 1990-2000, particularly in the key populations in Russia and Ukraine, with overall declines exceeding 30% in 10 years (BirdLife International 2004). The European population is now estimated to be decreasing at a rate of 35-40% in 12 years (three generations [Bird et al. 2020]) (BirdLife International in prep.). A national scale survey conducted in Ukraine in 2009 estimated an approximate decline of 23% compared to 1990-2000 (Kostenko 2009). The Ukrainian population declined further between 2001 and 2012 by 10-20% as reported in the European Red List of Birds (BirdLife International 2015) and recently it was estimated to be 2,000-2,600 pairs (Yaremchenko et al. in Palatitz et al. 2018). The European Russian population is estimated to have declined by 15-20% in three generations (BirdLife International in prep.).  In Hungary estimated populations declined from 2,000-2,500 pairs in the late 1980s to 600-700 pairs based on surveys in 2003-2006, but active conservation measures stabilized the trend and helped to increase the population to 1,200-1,300 breeding pairs in the last decade (Palatitz et al. 2018). The population within this country is becoming highly conservation dependent on artificial nests (Palatitz et al 2015; Solt et al. 2018), as decline and habitat shift of Rook to urban areas created a lack of natural nest sites in natural habitats. There has been a dramatic decline in breeding numbers in Slovakia, but nest box schemes recently stopped the decline (Slobodník et al. 2017). In Bulgaria the population was previously estimated at 50-150 pairs but dropped to 15-50 pairs based on a partial survey conducted in 2009 (Palatitz et al. 2009), was estimated at 10-15 pairs for the period 2005-2012 (BirdLife International 2015) and could be less than 10 pairs (Chezmediev in Palatitz et al. 2018). In 2006, surveys in Bulgaria found the species breeding at only 26 sites, out of 75 known locations (Anon. 2007). The population in Romania was estimated to be 1,000-1,500 pairs between 2006 and 2013 with a decreasing trend of 15-30% for the period 2001-2013 (BirdLife International 2015). The population in Romania was estimated to be 1,300-1,600 pairs in 2018 (Nagy in Palatitz et al. 2018). The small isolated population established in the 90's in Italy is stable, 50-70 pairs are breeding in the Northern lowland of Parma mainly in artificial nests  (BirdLife International 2004; Gustin et al. in Palatitz et al. 2009).

Little data is available on trends outside of Europe. Declines have been reported from eastern Siberia, where the species may have disappeared as a breeder from the Baikal region (Popov 2000, 2012); e.g. only single summer records are known in the northern part of the Irkutsk Region in the last decade (Popov 2012, 2018). Populations in natural forest habitats in central Asia appear to be stable, with the species reported to be common in suitable habitats in Kazakhstan (Bragin 2015). However, large declines have been observed in agricultural landscapes (which support over half of the population) in Kazakhstan and Russia due to a decline in Rook colonies and increased use of pesticides (A. Bragin, personal communication 2021). With part of the population in this area stable, and part suspected to be declining at a rate of over 70%, the overall population decline in Central Asia is suspected to be 25-45%.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan extant vagrant
Albania extant native yes
Algeria extant native yes
Angola extant native yes yes
Armenia extant native yes yes
Austria extant native yes yes
Azerbaijan extant native yes
Belarus extant native yes yes
Belgium extant vagrant
Benin extant native yes
Bosnia and Herzegovina extant native yes
Botswana extant native yes
Bulgaria extant native yes yes
Burkina Faso extant native yes
Burundi extant native yes
Cameroon extant native yes
Central African Republic extant native yes
Chad extant native yes
China (mainland) extant native yes
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the extant native yes
Côte d'Ivoire extant native yes
Croatia extant native yes yes
Cyprus extant native yes
Czechia extant native yes
Denmark extant native yes
Djibouti extant vagrant
Egypt extant native yes
Estonia extant native yes
Eswatini extant vagrant
Ethiopia extant native yes
Finland extant native yes yes
France extant native yes yes
Gabon extant vagrant
Gambia extant native yes
Georgia extant native yes yes
Germany extant native yes
Ghana extant native yes
Gibraltar (to UK) extant vagrant
Greece extant native yes
Hungary extant native yes yes
Iran, Islamic Republic of extant native yes
Iraq extant native yes
Ireland extant vagrant
Israel extant native yes
Italy extant native yes yes
Jordan extant native yes
Kazakhstan extant native yes
Kenya extant native yes
Kuwait extant vagrant yes
Kyrgyzstan extant uncertain
Latvia extant native yes yes
Lebanon extant native yes
Lesotho extant vagrant yes
Liberia extant vagrant yes
Libya extant native yes
Liechtenstein extant native yes
Luxembourg extant vagrant
Malawi extant native yes
Mali extant native yes
Malta extant native yes
Mauritania extant native yes
Moldova extant native yes yes
Montenegro extant native yes
Morocco extant vagrant
Mozambique extant native yes
Namibia extant native yes
Netherlands extant vagrant
Niger extant native yes
Nigeria extant native yes
North Macedonia extant native yes
Norway extant vagrant
Palestine extant native yes
Poland extant native yes yes
Portugal extant vagrant
Romania extant native yes yes
Russia extant native yes yes
Russia (Asian) extant native yes
Russia (Central Asian) extant native yes
Russia (European) extant native yes yes
Rwanda extant native yes
San Marino extant native yes
São Tomé e Príncipe extant vagrant
Saudi Arabia extant vagrant yes
Senegal extant native yes
Serbia extant native yes yes
Seychelles extant vagrant
Slovakia extant native yes yes
Slovenia extant native yes
Somalia extant vagrant
South Africa extant native yes
Spain extant vagrant
Sudan extant native yes
Sweden extant native yes
Switzerland extant native yes
Syria extant native yes
Tajikistan extant vagrant
Tanzania extant native yes
Togo extant native yes
Tunisia extant native yes
Türkiye extant native yes
Turkmenistan extant vagrant
Uganda extant native yes
Ukraine extant native yes yes
United Arab Emirates extant vagrant yes
United Kingdom extant vagrant
USA extant vagrant
Uzbekistan extant vagrant
Yemen extant vagrant yes
Zambia extant native yes yes
Zimbabwe extant native yes yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Moldova Purcari - Etulia
Moldova Congaz – Taraclia Lakes
Russia (European) Vicinity of Borisoglebovka (Saratovski [Semenovski] Reserve)
Ukraine Carpathian Vulkanichnyj Mountains
Ukraine Mokri Yasli forestry plantation
Ukraine Kremenets'kyj forest
Botswana Okavango Delta
Botswana Lake Ngami
Ukraine Agricultural lands near Bilorets'ke (Chornozemne village)
Ukraine Gajchur river valley
Ukraine Kakhovs'ke reservoir (Knyazhe-Grigorivka village)
Ukraine Kakhovs'ke reservoir (Vasylivka village)
Ukraine Konka river mouth
Ukraine Chauda
Ukraine Berezans'kyj lyman and Solonets Tuzly pond
Russia (Central Asian) Bol'shiye and Maliye Donki lakes
Russia (Central Asian) Sources of the Bolshaya Karaganka and Syntasty rivers
Russia (Central Asian) Kazanskaya flood-plain of the Ishim river
Russia (Central Asian) Sibirskaya anabranch (Irtysh flood-plain)
Russia (Central Asian) Pershinsko-Manatkinsky area
Russia (Central Asian) Baturino-Simansky area
Bulgaria Zlatiata
Bulgaria Shabla Lake Complex
Bulgaria Durankulak Lake
Bulgaria Kaliakra
Bulgaria Atanasovsko Lake
Bulgaria Ropotamo Complex
Kazakhstan Naurzum State Nature Reserve
Austria Parndorfer Platte and Heideboden
Kazakhstan Alekseevskie steppe pine forests
Kazakhstan Iskrinskie Pine Forests
Kazakhstan Ereymentau Mountains
Kazakhstan Kushmurun Lake
Russia (European) Leninsk forest area
Kazakhstan Teniz-Karakamys Lakes
Russia (European) Karanogaiskiye steppes
Kazakhstan Amankaragay Forest
Russia (European) Taman'
Russia (European) Irgaklinski forest
Russia (European) Lysyi Liman lake and valley of Vostochniy Manych river
Kazakhstan Kamyshovoe-Zhamankol Lakes
Kazakhstan Zhagabulak Forest
Hungary Kaszáló Wood of Abony
Hungary Bihar Plain
Hungary Borsodi-Mezőség
Hungary Heves Plain
Hungary Hortobágy and Tisza-to
Slovakia Pusté Úľany - Zeleneč
Slovakia Ostrovné lúky
Slovakia Miloslavov
Slovakia Lehnice
Slovakia Dolné Považie
Slovakia Sysľovské fields
Russia (Central Asian) Chernoye Lake
Russia (Central Asian) Kurumbel'skaya steppe
Russia (European) Floodplain of Ilek river near Pokrovka
Russia (European) Sources of Akshibai river
Russia (European) Severo-donetskaya
Russia (European) Buninski forest
Romania Allah Bair - Capidava
Romania Aliman - Adamclisi
Romania Braţul Borcea
Romania Câmpia Cermeiului
Romania Câmpia Crişurilor
Romania Câmpia Nirului - Valea lerului
Romania Dunăre - Canarale - Hârşova
Romania Dobrogei gorge
Romania Danube Delta
Romania Dunăre - Ostroave
Romania Dunărea Veche (Braţul Măcin)
Romania Miheşu de Câmpie-Taureni fish-ponds
Romania Jijiei şi Miletinului fish-ponds
Romania Prut river flood-plain - Vlădeşti - Frumuşiţa
Romania Hagieni forest
Romania Hunedoara Timişană
Romania Kogălniceanu - Gura Ialomiţei
Romania Lake Brateş
Romania Barcă river flood-plain
Romania Satchinez marsh
Romania Babadag wood
Romania Bârnova woodland
Romania Horga - Zorleni
Romania Radomir wood
Romania Lake Beibugeac (Plopu)
Romania Stepa Saraiu - Horea
Romania Lake Siutghiol
Romania Stepa Casimcea
Romania Alceului valley
Romania Avrig - Scorei - Făgăraş
Romania Beştepe - Mahmudia
Romania Băneasa - Canaraua Fetei
Romania Comana
Romania Denis Tepe
Romania Balta Mică a Brăilei
Romania Mândra wetlands
Romania Ilfov reservoir
Romania Lake Taşaul
Hungary Alkaline lakes of Kiskunság
Slovenia Lake Cerknica
Slovenia Ljubljansko moor
Kazakhstan Koybagar-Tyuntyugur Lake System
Kazakhstan Ural River Valley
Cyprus Akhna dam
Cyprus Akrotiri Peninsula - Episkopi Cliffs
Cyprus Cape Greco
Cyprus Karpasia Peninsula - Kleides Islands
Cyprus Pafos Plain
Cyprus Paramali River and Plateau
Cyprus Xeros Valley and Hanoutaris Cliffs
Russia (European) Delta of the River Don
Russia (European) Veselovskoye reservoir
Russia (European) Islands in the western part of Lake Manych-Gudilo
Serbia Okanj I Rusanda
Serbia Pašnjaci Velike Droplje
Serbia Slatine srednjeg Banata
Serbia Stari Begej
Serbia Subotica lakes and sandy terrain
Bosnia and Herzegovina Duvanjsko polje
Bosnia and Herzegovina Kupreško polje
Bosnia and Herzegovina Vukovsko-Ravanjsko polje
Bosnia and Herzegovina Mostarsko Blato
Montenegro Cemovsko polje
Montenegro Skadar Lake

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Pastureland suitable breeding
Forest Boreal suitable breeding
Forest Temperate suitable breeding
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable non-breeding
Grassland Temperate suitable breeding
Savanna Dry suitable non-breeding
Shrubland Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable breeding
Altitude 0 - 1500 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Small-holder farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Species disturbance, Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Unintentional effects (species is not the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Biological resource use Logging & wood harvesting - Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion, Reduced reproductive success
Energy production & mining Renewable energy Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Species mortality
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Herbicides and pesticides Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation
Residential & commercial development Commercial & industrial areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - international non-trivial recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - non-trivial recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Falco vespertinus. Downloaded from on 29/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 29/09/2023.