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Falcon, Amur

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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bucky
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Unread postby bucky » Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:42 am

Also highveld .

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Eastern or western redfooted kestrel - male and female ?

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Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:50 am

Eastern red-footed Kestrel! Also known as Amur falcon!

Male and female, yes.

Western variety not found here on the highveld.

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Unread postby bucky » Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:57 am

I dont get it , I saw these in kruger in december and they are supposed to be amur falcons , but they are different ?
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Unread postby deefstes » Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:18 am

What makes you say they are different Bucky? The first two pics are of a female (first) and male (second) Amur Falcon (Falco amurensis) and the flying bird is also a female Amur Falcon.

The only other contenders would be Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) and Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo). Your female birds are obviously not Red-footed Falcons because that species would show a very noticeable rufous tinge to the underparts.

They're not Eurasian Hobby either since that species would have bright rufous legs and vent area unless it was a juvenile in which case it would have had grey legs and cere. Your bird shows red legs and cere which rules out Hobby already.

The male Amurs are more tricky to seperate from the Red-footeds when they're not flying. I don't think you can safely rule out Red-footed based on distribution as you often find one or two Red-footeds in between a flock of Amurs. I have seen Red-footed Falcon at Suikerbosrand.

Anyway, the best way to tell them apart is by looking at the underwing coverts (unfortunately ony visible in flight) which will be white in Amur Falcon and dark in Red-footed Falcon. Fortunately yours is a very good picture of the bird sitting and a slight white line can be seen on the shoulder. These are the underwing coverts showing and you can safely sa that this is a male Amur Falcon.

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Unread postby deefstes » Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:30 am

Bok bok wrote:Can I just check because some of the names have changed when you say Amur Falcon was that orginally Eastern Redfooted Kestrel cause thats what the other birds look like to me???? (many years ago not to show my age or anything lol)


Indeed, the Eastern Red-footed Falcon is known as the Amur Falcon nowadays while the Western Red-footed Falcon is sommer known as the Red-foted Falcon.

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Falcon, Amur

Unread postby richardharris » Sat Mar 03, 2007 2:20 pm

Another summer visitor (from Asia). Usually seen in flocks.

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http://www.pbase.com/richardharris/february_2007&page=1
more photos / larger versions here

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Unread postby PygmyFalcon » Fri Mar 16, 2007 10:21 am

Brilliant Pic Richard. I envy you.

I 'discovered' these birds recently when driving to and from Dullstroom recently. I enquired at the Dullstroom Bird of Prey Centre, and the 'dudes' there identified them for me. There is apparently a tree in Lydenburg, where these birds roost in at night. They have a volunteer there who counts these birds every night and there is over 1000 of them. "You can't place a page between 'em"

They are very pretty birds and I'm keeping an eye out for them every time i travel.
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Fri Mar 16, 2007 11:48 am

Also known as Amur falcon, Thought there was an existing topic already, anyways. They breed in Russia alongside the Amur(therefor the name) river. At some stage in their migrating route they cross open ocean for an considerable distance (2000km's if I recall correctly). In SA they will eat up to 25% of their wieght in hi protein insects like flying ants so that they can survive their long trek back to Asia. Awesome birds!

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Unread postby Falconry4ever » Thu Apr 19, 2007 6:52 pm

bucky wrote:I dont get it , I saw these in kruger in december and they are supposed to be amur falcons , but they are different ?
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falconry4ever wrote:MAybe Lanner falcon, because of yellow feet?? :wink:

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Unread postby deefstes » Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:39 am

Falconry4ever wrote:
bucky wrote:I dont get it , I saw these in kruger in december and they are supposed to be amur falcons , but they are different ?
Image


falconry4ever wrote:MAybe Lanner falcon, because of yellow feet?? :wink:


I'm afraid, I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one. Apart from the fact that the feet and cere appears red to me, this bird's wings are too slender for Lanner Falcon which has much broader wings.

This bird is a classical female Amur Falcon.
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Unread postby Snoobab » Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:17 am

Hi deefstes
On what bases would you rule out this bird being a European Hobby

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Unread postby deefstes » Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:57 am

Snoobab wrote:Hi deefstes
On what bases would you rule out this bird being a European Hobby


OK, there are a few things, I'll list them:

1. The bird in question has a red cere and legs. These would have been yellow in Euro Hobby. I suppose it could be argued that the bare parts of the pictured bird is actually yellow but my opinion is that it is indeed red. Have a look at the difference in colour between the cere and the eye ring. While the female Amur Falcon does have a red eye ring, it can often appear yellow as it is usually not as red as the cere. I believe this to be the case with this bird.

2. The absence of rufous leg coverts and undertail coverts in this bird immediately rules out Euro Hobby. In case of an immature bird, the Euro Hobby would not have shown the rufous vent area but then the bare parts (legs, cere and eye ring) would not have had any colour, it would have been a very pale yellow at best but most likely just grey.

3. The Euro Hobby has more pointy wings than the Amur Falcon. This is a subtle feature and I wuldn't expect everyone to notice it immediately. It also seems to be more apparent when you see the bird fly than when you see it on a photograph. When comparing Euro Hobby to Lanner Falcon this is a very noticeable field feature but I'd say that for EH and AF it is probably not a very reliable feature to look for.

4. The description of the sighting noted that the birds were seen in large flocks. This is typical of Amur Falcon and very atypical of Euro Hobby.

A few additional comments:

1. The time of day could have been a useful indication as well. Bucky didn't mention the time of day but European Hobby is very much a crepuscular bird which means that they are active at dusk and dawn.

2. One question to always ask yourself when deciding between two birds is "Which is the more common one of the two?" I know, this may seem nonsensical because what about those sightings where you do see Euro Hobby? But the point I'd like to make is that Amur Falcon is VERY common while Euro Hobby is rather uncommon. You will probably see 500 Amur Falcons for every Euro Hobby that you see. So when you see a bird like this one, the first thoughts that should go through your head is "Probably a female Amur Falcon" and then you work from there. If it is a Euro Hobby you will eventually arrive at that conclusion but if you immediately start thinking Euro Hobby and ultimately arrive at Amur Falcon you just make life harder for yourself. :wink:
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Unread postby Candy's Style » Fri Jan 04, 2008 2:45 pm

Falco amurensis

Size: 30cm (A size of a African Mourning Dove :shock: ) They are smaller than I thought....

Habits: Very similar to a Western Redfooted Kestrel (don't know if it has also changed it's name?). It is gregarious and roosts communally in tall trees often in towns. The numbers can get up to 5 000 birds in the roosts and normally in company with Lesser Kestrels. They leave the roost before sunrise and return at dusk. Their flight is swallow-like and shows off their white underwing coverts which lack in the Western Redfooted Kestrel.

Food: According to Roberts 6th edition just insects but I have seen one eating meat before. Doing a quick web search it states that they eat small birds and mammals but their main diet is insects.
In Kruger :P

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Unread postby Elsa » Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:42 pm

Can someone please help my poor befuddled brain out with the ID of these birds, are they Eastern Redfooted Falcons, or European Hobby's?
Seen in Kruger near Mlondozi Dam in Feb.
Thanks

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Unread postby JoelR » Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:05 pm

Hi Elsa. I think your bird is a female Amur Falcon. It is seperated from the Eurasian Hobby by the grey (not black) crown, less prominent malar stripe and lighter chetnut to lower belly. The Red-necked Falcon has a chestnut crown.


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