The breeding range stretches from central eastern Europe to the Baikal Lake in Asia. From Estonia in the north and the northern shores of the Black Sea in the south the red-footed falcon inhabits low altitude open areas. The Carpathian-Basin is considered the western edge of the core breeding range, but in the past decade the species started breeding in Italy and further occasional breeding were recorded in France.

It is a long distant migrant, according to the most recent information the wintering grounds are in southern Africa, from the northern parts of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana Zambia, Zimbabwe to the lowlands of Angola.