Falco amurensis (Amur falcon, Eastern red-footed kestrel) 

Oostelike rooipootvalk [Afrikaans]; Seotsanyana (applied also to kestrel species) [South Sotho]; Rukodzi (generic name for a small raptor such as falcon or sparrowhawk) [Shona]; Kavakavana, Xikavakava (terms also applied to Rock kestrel) [Tsonga]; Amoerroodpootvalk [Dutch]; Faucon de l'Amour [French]; Amur-Rotfußfalke [German]; Falcăo-de-pés-vermelhos-oriental [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Falconiformes > Family: Falconidae

Falco amurensis (Amur falcon, Eastern red-footed kestrel) Falco amurensis (Amur falcon, Eastern red-footed kestrel)
Amur falcon male. [photo Neil Gray ©] Amur falcon female. [photo Neil Gray ©]

Distribution and habitat

Its breeding grounds stretch across eastern Asia, heading south in the non-breeding season to south-western Zambia and southern Africa. Here it is locally common in patches of Zimbabwe, northern Mozambique, Botswana and the eastern half of South Africa, while scarce in northern Namibia. It generally prefers open, moist grassland,  savanna and croplands, although it often roosts in trees in city centres.

Distribution of Amur falcon in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Movements and migrations

Palearctic breeding migrant, undertaking a roughly 11 000 km long trip, departing from its Asian breeding grounds from August-September, first arriving in southern Africa in November (later towards the south of its distribution) and leaving in the period from April-May.


It almost exclusively eats arthropods, caught either from a perch or by hovering and repeatedly diving into a large swarm of prey (such as a termite alate emergence). The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 



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