Amur Falcon | Falco amurensis

Amur Falcon

Each year at Isahaya, several Amur Falcons visit to stock up before embarking on their incredible journey to the east coast of Africa where they spend the northern hemisphere winter. It is only in autumn that they occur in Japan, as they return to their breeding grounds in the Russian Far East via a different route that takes them through India and central China. At Isahaya it is often the juveniles that pass through – the adult birds seem to migrate closer to the continent using islands such as Tsushima and Goto. This year seems to have been a good year for breeding, as the number of juveniles has surpassed the previous few seasons and even an immature male bird has been observed – usually it is only female birds that visit Isahaya. Amur Falcons are much like Eurasian Kestrels in behaviour – they hover a lot and prey almost exclusively (at Isahaya, at least) on locusts. Despite this, they are not harassed at all by the kestrels, which spend all winter at the reclaimed land areas. It is interesting that the smaller falcons all seem to have their own prey preferences – dragonflies for Northern Hobby; small birds for Merlin; locusts for Eurasian Kestrel and Amur Falcon. I guess this ensures that there is plenty of food for all and no conflict among the different species of raptor.