The Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) is a large endangered bird of prey, a raptor. It is a hierofalcon.
The Saker Falcon has a brown upper belly and grey flight feathers. Its head and upperparts are pale-brown with streaking from the chest downwards. Some Asian Saker Falcons have grey barred upperparts. It has a blue-grey downward curved beak with a black tip. Its legs are creamy-white with large sharp talons.
It measures 47-55 centimetres (19-22 inches) tall, with a wingspan of 105-129 centimetres (41-51 inches).
The Saker Falcon is native in Europe and Asia, from Spain to Mongolia. It is migratory, travelling south in winter. It prefers open grasslands with some trees or cliffs.
It feeds on rodents, such as rats, mice, and squirrels, as well as birds.
Males are called sakrets.
It does not build a nest, but it uses the abandoned nest of other birds, such as storks or buzzards. Females lay 1-3 eggs.
[Location of photographs: London Zoo, England and Tashkent Zoo, Uzbekistan]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM