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Spotting The Saker Falcon

Spotting The Saker Falcon  - Here, Eschenbach share some top tips for spotting and photographing the saker falcon.

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Animals / Wildlife


saker falcon

With its broad wings and sharp eyes, the saker falcon is a perfect hunter and dominates the steppes of the East.

Appearance

The saker falcon is about 50 centimeters long and is one of the largest and heaviest falcon species. It is characterized by a powerful physique and wide wings. The strong, yellow feet carry black claws. Adult saker falcons have a yellowish-brown top and a beige underside with dark brown streaking. The elegant head wears a bright crown. A faint dark stripe begins at the eyes and runs toward the neck. Females are generally larger and heavier than the males.

Occurrence

Saker falcon can be found from the southeast of Central Europe to the northwest of China. Some of them stay in their breeding area all year round. Others, especially birds breeding in Russia and Ukraine, migrate to southern Europe, Asia or Africa in winter. A very small population lives in Austria. They enjoy dry and open landscapes with good visibility like steppes and savannahs.

Behavior and facts

Like all other falcons, saker falcons never build their own nests. They use the old nests of other bird species, which are often in tall trees, crevices, but also on the ground. The female lays two to six eggs and incubates them for about 30 days. The chicks remain in the nest for 50 days after hatching. After they have fledged, the parents still bring them food for six weeks until they finally become independent. After two to three years, sexual maturity occurs. Thus, saker falcons cannot multiply rapidly, but rely on any successful breed to preserve their species.

The species is considered endangered. Their habitat is becoming smaller and smaller due to housing construction, industry and agriculture. Illegal bird hunting, pesticides and heavy metals in the breeding area as well as high voltage power lines and of course climate change are all threats for the saker falcon. In the Near and Middle East, it is also a highly regarded falconry bird.

 

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