Falcons in Germany: 10 species of falcons with picture

There are many different species of falcons in Germany. Most of us are familiar with many of these, such as the kestrel or peregrine falcon. However, there are many more hawks about which the post gives a little insight.

Baumfalke (Falco subbuteo)

  • looks similar to the peregrine falcon
  • albeit no bigger than a pigeon
  • black gray back
  • light belly with dark spots
  • rote „Hose“
  • only rarely found in Germany
  • is on the red list
  • threatened with extinction
  • migratory bird
Note: Hawks are annual monogamous. During breeding, the male falcon provides food for the female, who uses the time in the nest to moult and is therefore unable to fly.

Buntfalke (Falco sparverius)

  • resembles the kestrel
  • is not represented in Europe
  • Homeland is North and South America
  • belongs to the non-endangered falcon species
  • prefers open and semi-open landscapes
  • small and powerfully built
  • Males back and tail bright rust red
  • Wings are black
  • Upper head blue-grey with a reddish-brown spot
  • Females look similar, less colorful
Note: The American falcon is the only one of the falcon species presented here that does not occur in the wild either in Germany or in Europe. All other species are either native here or have become wild.

Gerfalke (Falco rusticolus)

  • largest falcon species
  • Wingspan as large as common buzzard
  • breeds mainly in colder areas
  • migratory bird
  • lingers on coastal cliffs
  • also in mountainous regions with rugged areas
  • the adjacent area must be open
  • light head
  • white body and wings with dark spots
Note: Some falcon species have been used by humans for hunting for hundreds of years, the most popular of which is the gyrfalcon, which is one of the largest of the falcon species. This form of hunting is called falconry hunting.

Lannerfalke (Falco biarmicus)

  • animals released into the wild or escaped in Central Europe
  • original homeland is Africa
  • are often used in falconries
  • striking yellow eye rims
  • yellow beak and feet
  • Breast beige plumage
  • Back brown/grey
  • tail brown/white
  • elegant plane

Merlin (Falco columbarius)

  • also known as a dwarf falcon
  • smallest falcon species
  • mainly in Northern Europe
  • migratory bird
  • is on the red list
  • brown plumage with white dots
  • Females more white than brown
Note: Since the merlin is a very small species of hawk, measuring around 28 cm, it does have enemies among the other birds. These include other hawks, crows, rough-legged buzzards, and owls.

Rötelfalke (Falco naumanni)

  • mainly located in southern Europe
  • Migratory bird in winter in South Africa
  • slightly larger than the Merlin
  • pink plumage
  • male blue head
  • very noticeable
  • Females resemble the kestrel
  • the image of the Gross Colony
  • lives in semi-deserts and steppes
  • Enemies are other birds of prey
Note: A hawk can turn its head up to 180°, this is due to the 15 cervical vertebrae that this bird has. It has a field of view with a radius of up to 220°.

Rotfußfalke (Falco vespertinus)

  • slightly smaller than kestrel
  • Females yellow-red head
  • Plumage dark gray on back
  • yellow-brown on abdomen
  • Terzel is gray with red legs
  • migratory bird
  • comes to Germany in the summers
Tip: The male falcon is called Terzel.

Sakerfalke (Falco cherrug)

  • also known as the saker falcon
  • based in Europe
  • Migratory bird winters in Asia and Africa
  • large hawk species
  • females are larger
  • breeds in trees or on the ground
  • brown back
  • white chest with brown spots

Turmfalke (Falco tinnunculus)

  • large population in Germany
  • rusty plumage
  • Females have dark spots
  • the male has a gray head
  • about the size of a pigeon
  • Kestrel is also often called vibrating falcon
  • depends on the form of hunting
  • shake in the air in a nosedive
Note: When a hawk hunts, it scouts its prey from an elevated position, such as a treetop or tower, before pouncing. This form of hunting distinguishes it from other birds of prey, which spot their prey from the air while gliding.

Wanderfalke (Falco peregrinus)

  • largest native falcon
  • Cosmopolitan, located all over the world
  • Size corresponds to that of a crow
  • black-brown plumage on top
  • Underside lighter with black stripes
  • breeds in old buildings
  • Population higher due to release
  • in flight up to 320 km/h fast
  • the fastest animal on earth
  • “wanders” over the longest distances
Note: Peregrine and tree falcons belong to the so-called noble falcons and are not as common in their population as, for example, the kestrel.

Kira Bellingham

I'm a homes writer and editor with more than 20 years' experience in publishing. I have worked across many titles, including Ideal Home and, of course, Homes & Gardens. My day job is as Chief Group Sub Editor across the homes and interiors titles in the group. This has given me broad experience in interiors advice on just about every subject. I'm obsessed with interiors and delighted to be part of the Homes & Gardens team.

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