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Falco cherrug

Additional details on Food and Feeding:

European Russia: The principal food source is two species of suslik, both of which have almost completely disappeared (Galushin et al. 2001).

Romania: The principal prey is susliks (Roberts 2000).

Serbia: According to Puzovic (2008), the diet consists mostly of small rodents, ground squirrels, hamsters, pigeons, and starlings. He recorded sakers regularly kleptoparasitizing prey from other species of birds that occasionally or constantly spend much time in the vicinity of powerlines. Victim species included Common Buzzards, Western Marsh Harriers, Common Kestrels, Eurasian Hobbies, Hooded Crows, Jackdaws, and Common Ravens. Seventy percent of the instances involved Common Kestrels, and most of the prey items were Common Voles (Microtus arvalis). Puzovic (op cit.) interpreted this behavior as a recent adaptation to living in the vicinity of powerlines.

Bulgaria: The main prey during the nesting period is the European Susklik, but sakers also feed on other rodents and small to medium-sized birds, including pigeons, crows, and small passerines (Ragyov 2006).

Armenia: Feeds on birds, including domestic fowl and small mammals (Dal 1954). The stomach of a collected bird on 23 November 1977 contains remnants of a Common Vole and a Eurasian Linnet (Adamian and Klem 1999). In Armenia, heavy snow cover results in these falcons hunting closer to towns and villages where prey may be more readily available (Adamian and Klem op cit.).

Greece: Sakers have been observed attacking Black-tailed Godwits, Ruffs, Black-headed Gulls, and on 30 March 1980, an adult was seen taking a European Suslik in the Evros Delta (Handrinos and Akriotis 1997).

Kazakhstan: The diet is dominated by the Red-cheeked Suslik (Spermophilus erythrogenys) and Long-tailed Susliks (S. undulatus) (Watson and Clarke 2000). Wintering birds feed on feral pigeons attracted to sunflower fields (Wassink and Oreel 2007).

Mongolia: Gombobaatar et al. (2001) provided a detailed summary of the Saker Falcon diet in Mongolia. Brandt's Vole (Microtus brandti) is the most important prey in eastern Mongolia, but the dominant prey in western Mongolia are pikas (Ochotona spp.), Pallas's Sandgrouse, and Steppe Hare (Lepus tolai), according to earlier workers (Przevalskii 1876, Kozlova 1930, Tugarinov 1932, Sushkin 1938). Sakers also feed on Mongolian Gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus), Midday Gerbils, Mongolian Marmots (Marmota sibirica), and other species of birds (Baumgart 2001, Bold and Boldbaatar 2001, Gombobataatar et al. 2000). A decline of Brandt's Vole numbers during the particularly harsh spring and winter of 2002 led to a corresponding decrease in numbers of breeding pairs of sakers (Gombobaatar et al. 2004).

China: The main prey species in the Junggar Basin, northern Xinjiang Province, are the Great Gerbil, Red-jawed Ground Squirrel, Yellow Steppe Lemming, Common Hare, Chukar, pigeons (including domestic varieties), sandgrouses, starlings, Houbara Bustard, small passerines, and some reptiles (desert snakes and lizards) (Ma et al. 2006).

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