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Falco vespertinus

Additional details on Distribution:

United States: There is only one North American record, a second calendar-year male that was prolifically photographed at Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts from 8 to 24 August 2004 (Laux 2004, Sibley 2004, Banks et al. 2007).

England: Visitor, occurring almost annually, and by 2005, a total of 605 records of this species had accumulated in England (Brown and Grice 2005). Most birds occur in spring between April to June with a peak in late May and in southern and southeastern counties. It is thought that most of these birds have overshot their usual breeding ranges in eastern Europe upon their return from southern Africa; autumn migrants take a more easterly route, and there are far fewer fall records in England (Brown and Grice op cit.). During Spring 1992, an unusual influx of birds occurred, apparently associated with a northward shift in the jet-stream, which brought exceptionally warm airflows from southern Europe across eastern England; at least 120 Red-footed Falcons were found in Britain and Ireland (Nightingale and Allsopp 1992).

Scotland: Scarce vagrant (Madders and Welstead 1997).

Netherlands: Very scarce passage migrant (Bijlsma et al. 2001).

Balearic Islands: Scarce migrant on Mallorca, Menorca, and Eivissa, and rare migrant on Formentera (Anuari Ornitològic de les Balears 2004).

Gibraltar: Vagrant (Garcia 2005).

Russia: Occurs from central regions as far east as the northern Baikal area (Flint 1984).more....

Czech Republic: Vagrant, occurring locally during migration and as many as five pairs may now breed annually (Kren 2000). Formerly regarded as a vagrant to central Moravia, but there were five confirmed breeding records between 1968 and 1973 (Doupal 2005).

Hungary: Estimated 2,000 to 2,200 breeding pairs. Common breeding resident in some lowland woodlands, but less common on the Great Plain and only a scattered breeder in Transdanubia. Present from April to October (Gábor 1998).

Romania: Widespread and locally common breeding migrant, with colonies in the Letea Forest and the Danube Delta (Roberts 2000). The breeding population is concentrated along the Danube watercourse and in eastern Moldavia, and it also occurs in Transylvania, where solitary breeding seems to be the norm (Roberts 2000). It is a particularly common passage migrant along the coast, and groups of several thousand have been seen (e.g., at Ciochia in 1972). Goriup et al (2007) regarded it as a summer visitor in the Danube Delta.

Bulgaria: Breeding resident and regular migrant (Nankinov 1992).

Azerbaijan: Rare migrant (Patrikeev 2004).

Armenia: Rare breeding bird with nesting last recorded in the nineteenth century, but with a possibility that breeding still occurs, at least sporadically (Adamian and Klem 1999). The species occurs from Tavshoot south to the Araks Valley, along the western shore of Lake Sevan, and in extreme southern Armenia. It historically inhabited the forests near Tsaghkadzor at 1,850 m and nested in the ruins of buildings (Zelinsky 1881, Dal 1954). It was also recorded in the parks of Taronik (Leister and Sosnin 1942).

Turkey: Passage migrant and uncommon summer resident (Kirwan et al. 1999).

Greece: Common and widespread passage migrant in spring, but scarce in autumn; seen anywhere on the mainland and on all the islands (Handrinos and Akriotis 1997). They are more numerous in some years than others.

Syria: Sporadic passage migrant between late April-late May and mid-September-early October (Baumgart 1995). There have been ca. 25 records over the last 10 years, but there is still no evidence of breeding or wintering, according to Murdoch and Betton (2008), who regarded it a scarce passage migrant.

Lebanon: Uncommon passage migrant in September-October and rare in April-May (Ramadan-Jaradi and Ramadan-Jaradi 1999, Ramadan-Jaradi et al. 2008).

Israel: Fairly common autumn and scarce spring passage migrant, mainly over the northern and western areas (Shirihai 1996).

Kuwait: Vagrant, with one record, a second-year female found dead ny G. Gregory and H. Merlet at Hujaijah on 9 May 2002 (Gregory 2005).

United Arab Emirates: Vagrant. One was found at Fujairah national diary farm at Dibba on 14 October 2006 (van den Berg and Haas 2006).

Azores: Vagrant; an immature female was collected on São Miguel after 1966 (Clarke 2006).

Madeira: Vagrant, with three unconfirmed reports and a female at Ponta do Pargo, Madeira on 12 June 2003 (Clarke 2006).

Canary Islands: Vagrant, with seven certain records, four of which were in 1907 or earlier (Clarke 2006).

Azores: Vagrant. A weakened female picked up on Faial on 2 May 2008 died a few hours later (Demey 2008). According to Demey (2011), there are now five records for the Azores, the most recent being an adult male seen at Lagoa do Ginjal on 14 May 2011.

Morocco: Accidental passage migrant during spring and autumn. There are 14 records from late March to early June, and four autumn records in August-September (Thévenot et al. 2003).

Algeria: Passage migrant, seen almost exclusively in spring from the second half of April to mid-June, peaking in May, but in varying numbers from year to year in eastern Algeria (Isenmann and Maoli 2000). There are only two autumn sightings, since the fall migration of this species passes over the eastern Mediterranean. Birds migrating through Tunisia in spring breed in central Europe, Ukraine, and southern Russia (Dejonghe 1980), with some birds going as far as western Siberia (Glutz von Blotzheim et al. 1971).

Morocco: There are 26 Moroccan records, mostly from April and early May, and only four are from autumn (Bergier et al. 2011).

Tunisia: Regular passage migrant in spring, occurring in small groups of up several dozen birds (Isenmann et al. 2005).

Libya: Common passage migrant in Tripoli from late April to Early June, with small flocks of up to about 30 widespread from the border to Sirte in the east, but chiefly on the coastal plain (Bundy 1976). Common from late April to May in northern Cyprenaica, with flocks up to 100 recorded (Hartert 1923, Stanford 1954). There is a single autumn record in November near Benghazi (Green fide Stanford 1954).

WEST AFRICA: Rare to uncommon Palearctic passage migrant almost throughout the region (Borrow and Demey 2001).

São Tomé & Príncipe: Vagrant. Two were seen near the airport on 26 Nov. 1954, and one (an immature male) was collected (Frade 1958, 1959).

Liberia: Rare passage migrant with only a single record, two seen on 13 April 1988 at Wologizi (Gatter 1997).

Côte d'Ivoire: Rare Palearctic migrant, recorded only on spring passage; there are six records of 2-10 birds from Lamto to Korhogo from February to April (Thiollay 1985).

Ghana: Regular sightings of small numbers of birds thought to be this species over marshy areas at Mole during the early part of the dry season from October-December were reported by Greig-Smith (1976), but the records were uncertain, according to Grimes (1987). More recently, Helsens (1996) reported a single male at Elmina in April 1993, and van der Brink et al. (1998) saw up to 15 birds on three dates from 7-27 December 1996 at Legon, Buipe, and Accra-Elmina. One was also seen at Sakumo Lagoon, near Accra (Dowsett et al. 2008).

Togo: Vagrant Palearctic migrant (Cheke and Walsh 1996). A male and three females were seen at Landa-Pozanda on 5 April 1988 (Walsh et al. 1990)), and a mass movement of ca. 300 in groups of 20-30 over Kara was recorded on 3 June 1987 (S.A. Sowah in Cheke and Walsh op cit.).

Nigeria: Locally common spring passage migrant from March to April. Not recorded in mid-winter and only two fall records (Elgood et al. 1994).

Democratic Republic of the Congo: A female was seen in Lac Tele Community Reserve in early October 2005 (Demey 2006).

Congo: The only records are one and two females recorded in the Lac Télé Community Reserve on 5 and 15 October 2005 (Rainey et al. 2009).

Sudan: Locally common autumn passage migrant in Darfur and along the Nile is in late September/October, but along the Red Sea in late August/September; there is no spring passage (Nikolaus 1987). Bowen (1926) erroneously characterized it as a fairly comon winter visitor in the arid sectors.

Eritrea: Very rare Palearctic migrant, with a single record from Doumeira of an immature on 25 October 1987 (Ash and Atkins 2009).

Ethiopia: Very rare Palearctic migrant, with only a single fall record from 29 September to 1 October 1975 at Afdem River; there are other undocumented reports (Ash and Atkins 2009).

Somalia: There is a single record of a large northward migrating flock of this species, accompanying a flock of F. amurensis, from Balcad on 27 April 1983 (Ash and Miskell 1998).

EAST AFRICA: Rare migrant, passing mainly to the west of the area from October to May (Stevenson and Fanshawe 2002).

Angola: Uncommon migrant from October to March, recorded in woodland and grassland at scattered localities in southern, central, and northeastern Angola (Dean 2000). Considered to be common by Traylor (1963), but not by Pinto (1983).

Zambia: Palearctic migrant and winter visitor, most common in the western part of the country, although it occurs east to Mbala and rarely on the Nyika Plateau (Dowsett-Lemaire 2006); unknown from the Eastern Province plateau; occurs from 800-2,200 m (Dowsett et al. 2008). Flocks of up to 50 are sometimes recorded, mostly on southern passage, but very few remain during the rains, and return movements to the north are small (Dowsett et al. op cit.). Exceptionally up to 2,000 were present at Mwinilunga on 7-8 October 1978 after the first rains on the 6th (Bowen 1979).

Malawi: Irregular and scarce visitor, reported from a few localities from the Nyika Plateau to Lengwe, occurring from 50 to 2,400 m (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2006). Occurs mainly on passage, and there are two sightings of about 100 individuals on 20 January 1963 on the Nyika Plateau and 18 March 1996 at Thazima.

Botswana: Sparse to fairly common Palearctic migrant; more common and more numerous than the closely related Amur Falcon (Penry 1994). Regular Palearctic migrant to the Okavango Delta (Hancock et al. 2007).

Zimbabwe: Palearctic migrant, with most records concentrated along the central watershed west of 31°45'E to Magunje and the Main Camp area of Wanki National Park, and it is unknown from the eastern highlands (Irwin 1981). It was formerly regular in the Salisbury (Harare) area, but is now very rare there. Most birds occur in Zimbabwe on their way to their wintering areas in dry, western South Africa (Irwin op cit.). Seasonally, this is the most abundant raptor in Zimbabwe, and it is much more abundant than the similar Amur Falcon and Lesser Kestrels with which it is often found (Hartley 1988). This species is also found in the eastern districts, but the Mashonaland plateau around Harare appears to be a key wintering ground (Hartley op cit.).

South Africa: Scarce non-breeding summer migrant in the former Transvaal; much less common than the Amur Falcon and Lesser Kestrel (Tarboton and Allan 1984).

Kazakhstan: Common breeding and passage migrant, breeding south to the Volga Delta, the lower Ural Valley, the middle Emba Valley, Naurzum Nature Reserve in northern Qostanay Province, Astana, the western Altai foothills, the western Kablinskiy Altai, and the southern Altai in the Bukhtarma and Chernyy Irtysh Valleys (Wassink and Oreel 2007). Widespread during migration, but rare in the southern part and mostly avoiding high mountains (Wassink and Oreel op cit.).

Iran: Scarce passage migrant (Scott and Adhami 2006).

Mongolia: Apparently a vagrant, but owing to possible confusion with the closely related Amur Falcon, there is not yet any certain record for this species in Mongolia (Gombobaatar and Monks 2011). It has been reported from Hudriin Davaa, northwestern Hentii, Hustai Nuruu National Park and Khalkh River basin (Gombobaatar and Monks op cit.). Vagrants possibly migrate through western, northwestern, and even central Mongolia.

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