Breeding

The Red-footed falcon is the only raptor species of the region that breeds in colonies and in solitary nests as well. As other Falco species, it occupies empty nests, mainly built by Corvids (Corvus sp. and Pica pica). The 3-4 occasionally 5, reddish eggs are laid quite late (May-June) and both sexes take part in the incubation which lasts approx. 4 weeks. Both parents take part in parental care, until the fledglings leave the nest after 4 weeks. Although 2nd calendar year birds are considered mature they seldom breed in their first breeding season. The oldest known red-footed falcon was 12 years old.

The rook has a very important role in the life cycle of the Red-footed falcon since the rookeries provide the natural colonial nesting facility for this species. Moreover colonially nesting falcons are recorded to have a better breeding success than solitary nesting pairs. For example in Hungary the ruthless persecution of the rooks had caused a dramatic decline in population numbers: in 1980 nearly 255 000 pairs were recorded, while maximum 25 000 pairs breed today. The population decline and the consequent lack of rookeries affected the nesting of falcons. Nowadays 2/3 of the hungarian red-footed falcon population breed in artificial nests.