Falcons and Caracaras (Falconidae)

Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) - HBW 2, p. 273

French: Faucon sacre German: Würgfalke Spanish: Halcón Sacre
Other common names: Altai Falcon ( altaicus)

Taxonomy: Falco cherrug J. E. Gray, 1834, India.
Closely related to F. rusticolus, with which forms superspecies, perhaps also including F. biarmicus, F. jugger and possibly even F. mexicanus. Internal taxonomy very complicated and uncertain, especially with reference to populations of C Asia. Status of form altaicus controversial (see page 218): has been considered separate species, or race of F. rusticolus or of present species; now usually reckoned to be morph of present species; nevertheless, breeds significantly earlier than other nearby populations of present species. Possible races coat.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Falco cherrug J. E. Gray, 1834, India.
Closely related to F. rusticolus, with which forms superspecies, perhaps also including F. biarmicus, F. jugger and possibly even F. mexicanus. Internal taxonomy very complicated and uncertain, especially with reference to populations of C Asia. Status of form altaicus controversial (see page 218): has been considered separate species, or race of F. rusticolus or of present species; now usually reckoned to be morph of present species; nevertheless, breeds significantly earlier than other nearby populations of present species. Possible races coatsi (from Uzbekistan) and progressus (EC Asia) apparently rather distinctive; several other races may be valid, including perhaps cyanopus (C & E Europe), and unnamed population from deserts E of Caspian Sea. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • cherrug J. E. Gray, 1834 - C Europe E through SW Russia, Ukraine and Iran to R Yenisey and foothills of Altai; winters from Europe and NE Africa E to NW India.
  • milvipes Jerdon, 1871 - SE Siberia, N Mongolia and N China S to W & C China; winters from Iran E to Nepal and NW India, Tibet and C China.