Saker Falcon in Bulgaria

The Saker Falcon or Falco cherrug is the largest falcon in Bulgaria and the second largest in the world after the Saker Falcon. The Saker Falcon is the size of a buzzard, but has a much more elegant body. Its size ranges from 45 to 55 centimetres and its wingspan from 105 to 130 centimetres.

The colour of the plumage is mainly rusty-yellowish or brownish tones. The colour of the back ranges from dark brown to ochre-brown, and sometimes with white edging on the feathers, which form distinct stripes in some birds. The lower part of the body is white or ochre with rare droplet-shaped or elongate brown splashes. The 'trousers' of most eastern subspecies have distinct stripes or droplet-shaped speckles, merging in some individuals into a dark background. Juveniles are more coloured.

The falcon is a typical inhabitant of steppes, open plains and mountain plateaus. Its distribution depends on its favourite food - the loons. The falcon does not build a nest, but occupies someone else's - that of crows, buzzards, eagles or storks. The Saker Falcon prefers hard-to-reach nesting sites with good visibility of the hunting territory.

The mating period begins in their third year and they lay up to 6-7 eggs. Egg laying is from early March to mid-April.

There is an interesting fact that Saker Falcons leave their territory and migrate long distances, which is explained by the fact that they find suitable food.

The Saker Falcon feeds on small rodents, medium-sized and small birds in addition to ground squirrels. Its hunting tactics are varied. It hunts both from ambush and by stalking its prey. Sometimes it descends and picks on the ground, and sometimes it starts chasing its prey in the air.

The Saker Falcon is a protected bird in Bulgaria and violations against it are prosecuted under the Penal Code and the Biodiversity Act.

One more curious fact about the Saker Falcon - its ancient names are Kraguy and Barak.