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Conservation status: Green

About the size of a kestrel with long pointed wings, reminiscent of a giant swift. It has a dashing flight and will chase large insects and small birds like swallows and martins. Prey is often caught in its talons and transferred to its beak in flight. Can accelerate rapidly in flight and is capable of high-speed aerial manoeuvres.



Latin name

Falco subbuteo


Falcons and allies (Falconidae)

Where to see them

Now breeds across central, southern and eastern England, into S Wales and just about reaching north England and S Scotland. Best looked for hunting over woodland edges, heathlands where there is plenty of large insect prey. Gravel pits are a popular feeding areas in late summer when there is plenty of food.

When to see them

Arrives in the UK from April onwards and mainly leaves in September and October. Best looked for on warm summer days when there are plenty of dragonflies, summer chafers and other prey around.

What they eat

Insects and small birds


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-2,800 pairs--




Patrik Aberg, Xeno-canto