Friday, 28 February 2014

172. Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus)

Red-footed Falcons breed in localised areas of eastern Europe, but are more widespread further east; they winter in sub-Saharan Africa. Vagrants occur in small numbers throughout western Europe, such as the bird which delighted many at RSPB Lakenheath last year! In flight, Red-footed falcons can resemble both Hobbies as they catch insects in mid-air, and Kestrels as they will also hover to hunt small animals. The male is very distinctive with his suave blue-grey body and contrasting red bill, eye ring, legs and trousers/undertail. Females have blue-grey barred upperparts and orangey buff underparts and head with a small amount of dark streaking, and a small dark mask against white cheeks, like a Hobby's but smaller. Juveniles are similar to females but browner above, with strong streaking below, and a brown cap. Red-footed Falcons' preferred habitat is open country with stands of trees, such as meadows, river valleys, steppe and farmland.

Red-footed Falcon, ©Edwyn Anderton, via Flickr Creative Commons.

Red-footed Falcon painting.
Unusually I've made the wings a bit too slim, normally I make things too chunky! Bit tardy with this one too, it's been a busy week what with various things taking longer than expected (as is always the way), cinema and go-karting (!) trips and some impromptu trespassing on a local golf course (in an attempt to get away from street lights) to try and spot the aurora last night, alas unsuccessfully! Also I can now scan drawings once again after replacing the broken screen in Chris's laptop (my Mac doesn't talk to the printer/scanner), pleased that I have learnt how to replace a laptop screen :o)

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