Falco concolor (Sooty falcon) 

Roetvalk [Afrikaans]; Woestijnvalk, Leigrijze valk [Dutch]; Faucon concolore [French]; Schieferfalke, Blaufalke [German]; Falc„o-sombrio [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 concolor (Sooty falcon)  

Sooty falcon, Antananarivo, Madagascar. [photo Adam Riley ©, Rockjumper Birding Tours]


Distribution and habitat

Breeds on offshore islands of the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, southern Pakistan and in Africa from southern Egypt to Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania; in the non-breeding season it heads south to Madagascar and is a vagrant to the east coast of southern Africa. It generally prefers tropical and subtropical habitats, either coastal or marshy, such as moist savanna and the edges of forest.

Distribution of Sooty 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).

Movements and migrations

Non-breeding migrant to Madagascar and sometimes southern Africa, staying from about mid November to mid April.


It mainly eats flying insects, bats and small birds (such as swallows and swifts), hunting from a high perch or from high up in the air, catching its prey by vertically diving to intercept them at great speed.


  • 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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