Results of the Red-footed Falcon autumn roost site surveys 2011

The roosting behaviour of Red-footed Falcons in autumn is rare amongst raptors. Adults and freshly fledged juveniles forage in small groups during the day, but as dusk sets in, they gather to spend the night together in small wood stands or even a single tree hundreds.

In many cases they aggregate on medium or high voltage pylons before entering the so called roost site. These daily social events start at the end of the breeding season and is maintained until the second half of September, when they head out for their enigmatic journey to the wintering grounds in southern Africa. Not bound to feeding their chicks multiple times a day, the birds may disperse to large areas roaming within and often outside the Carpathian Basin; ringed birds have been re-sighted in Belgium, Norway, Sweden and Russia, to name the most extremes.

Like swallows on the electric lines (Photo: Péter Palatitz)


The roost sites, which are often located at traditional locations, are surveyed on a weekly basis since 2005. In 2011 the survey started on the 2nd of August and ended on the last week of September.

The maximum number of birds counted within the project area was 1500 individuals on the third week of September. The table below summarizes the results for 2011. 

Results of the autumn roost site surveys, 2011 (Figure: Szabolcs Solt)


This year’s results show a slightly delayed initiation of migration, and a higher ratio of juvenile birds. Both, Hungarian birds in Serbia, and Serbian birds in Hungary have been re-sighted.

Roost sites holding thousand strong individuals are typically found in the Eastern part of Hungary; this year in the Körös-Maros National Park, in Western Romania and in Vojvodina. The maximum number of birds counted at a location was 600 within the project area at the roost site in northern Serbia.

Results of the autumn roost site surveys, 2011 (Figure: Szabolcs Solt)


The most significant roost sites of the project area in 2011

Max. number of birds

National Park Directorate

Area, Region

Natura 2000 Code




Not integrated to Natura 2000 yet



Királyhegyesi Plain




Kopáncsi Plain




Vásárhelyi Plains








Kiskunság Saline Lakes