The Amur falcon (Falco amurensis) is a small raptor . Males are characteristically dark sooty grey above with rufous thighs and vent. In flight the wing lining is white, contrasting with the dark wing feathers. Adult males of the closely related red-footed falcon have a dark grey wing lining. In Africa, males can be confused with melanistic Gabar goshawks but the chestnut on the vent is distinctive. Also there may be some superficial resemblance to sooty falcon and grey kestrel, but those two species both have yellow feet and cere. The wings are long as in most falcons (with a span of 63?71 cm) and at rest the wing tip reaches or extends just beyond the tail-tip. Females can be more confusing as they share a pattern common to many falcons but are distinctive in having an orange eye-ring, a red cere and reddish orange feet. Juveniles can be confused only with those of the red-footed falcon but lack the buffy underwing coverts.


Habitat and Distribution

It breeds in south-eastern Siberia and Northern China before migrating in large flocks across India and over the Arabian Sea to winter in Southern Africa.


Feeding

The Amur falcon feeds mainly late in the evening or early in the morning capturing a wide range of insects in the air or on the ground. They capture most of their prey in flight, sometimes by hovering but will also pick prey by alighting on the ground. The winter diet appears to be almost entirely made up of insects but they take small birds and amphibians to feed their young in their breeding range. The rains in Africa produce swarms of termites, locusts, ants and beetles that provide ample food. Their migration over the Arabian Sea coincides with the timing of the migration of dragonflies (Pantala flavescens) and these are thought to provide food during the most arduous part of their migration route.


Breeding

Their breeding habitats are in open wooded country with marshes. During migration they stay in open forest or grasslands, roosting colonially on exposed perches or wires. The breeding season is May to June and several pairs may nest close together. Abandoned nest platforms belonging to birds of prey or corvids and even tree hollows are re-used for nesting. Three or four eggs are laid (at two day intervals). Both parents take turns to incubate and feed the chicks which hatch after about a month. The young birds leave the nest after about a month.