The Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) is a large falcon, larger than the Lanner Falcon and almost as large as the Gyr Falcon.
It has a 47-55cm body length with a wingspan of 105-129cm. Saker Falcons have brown upperbellies and contrasting grey flight feathers. The head and underparts are paler brown, with streaking from the breast down.
This species breeds from eastern Europe eastwards across Asia to Manchuria. It is mainly migratory except in the southernmost parts of its range, wintering in Ethiopia, the Arabian peninsula, northern India, Iran and western China.
The Saker Falcon is a bird of open grassland with some trees. It usually hunts by horizontal pursuit and feeds mainly on rodents and more rarely birds. This species usually builds no nest of its own, but lays its 3-6 eggs on the ground or in an old stick nest in a tree which was previously used by other large birds such as crows, ravens or buzzards.
It is categorized as endangered, due to a rapid population decline. The species faces high pressure from habitat loss and destruction.
Species: F. cherrug
* BirdLife International (2004). Falco cherrug. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes a range map, a brief justification of why this species is endangered, and the criteria used
* Helbig, A.J.; Seibold, I.; Bednarek, W.; Brüning, H.; Gaucher, P.; Ristow, D.; Scharlau, W.; Schmidl, D. & Wink, Michael (1994): Phylogenetic relationships among falcon species (genus Falco) according to DNA sequence variation of the cytochrome b gene. In: Meyburg, B.-U. & Chancellor, R.D. (eds.): Raptor conservation today: 593-599.
* Nittinger, F.; Haring, E.; Pinsker, W.; Wink, Michael & Gamauf, A. (2005): Out of Africa? Phylogenetic relationships between Falco biarmicus and other hierofalcons (Aves Falconidae). Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 43(4): 321-331.
* Orta, Jaume (1994): 57. Saker Falcon. In: del Hoyo, Josep; Elliott, Andrew & Sargatal, Jordi (eds.): Handbook of Birds of the World, Volume 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl: 273-274, plate 28. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona
* Tomek, Teresa & Bocheński, Zygmunt (2005): Weichselian and Holocene bird remains from Komarowa Cave, Central Poland. Acta zoologica cracoviensia 48A(1-2): 43-65.
* Wink, Michael; Seibold, I.; Lotfikhah, F. & Bednarek, W. (1998): Molecular systematics of holarctic raptors (Order Falconiformes). In: Chancellor, R.D., Meyburg, B.-U. & Ferrero, J.J. (eds.): Holarctic Birds of Prey: 29-48. Adenex & WWGBP
* Wink, Michael; Sauer-Gürth, Hedi; Ellis, David & Kenward, Robert (2004): Phylogenetic relationships in the Hierofalco complex (Saker-, Gyr-, Lanner-, Laggar Falcon). In: Chancellor, R.D. & Meyburg, B.-U. (eds.): Raptors Worldwide: 499-504. WWGBP, Berlin.