Barbary Falcon (Falco pelegrinoides)



The Barbary Falcon is a medium-sized to largish falcon and rather similar to the Peregrine Falcon with which it can easily be confused. It is a rare species within the Falco genus and scarcely distributed on Atlantic islands, northwest and northeast Africa, parts of the Arabian peninsula and parts of Asia.





Description - Characteristics: Barbary Falcon


Breeding – Clutch – Measurements – Habitat – Diet - Threats



Order: Falconiformes

Family: Falconidae

Genus: Falco

Species: Barbary Falcon


Scientific Name: Falco (peregrinus) pelegrinoides


Names and Synonyms of the Barbary Falcon


Name in German: Wüstenfalke

Name in Czech: Sokol šahin

Name in Slovak: Sokol hrdzavohlavý

Name in Hungarian: Sivatagi sólyom

Name in French: Faucon de Barbarie

Name in Spanish: Halcón Tagarote

Name in Portuguese: Halcón Tagarote

Name in Dutch: Barbarijse Slechtvalk

Name in Italian: Falco de Barberia

Name in Finnish: Arabihaukka

Name in Danish: Berberfalk

Name in Swedish: Berberfalk

Name in Polish: Sokól berberyjski

Name in Russian: Shakhin oder Rishegolowij sapsan

Name in Arabic: الشاهين المغربي, الصقر المغربي

Name in Hebrew: בז אדום־ראש, בז מדברי


Characteristics of the Barbary Falcon


Distribution:Southwest to central Palearctic, northeast Afrotropical, marginally northwest Indomalayan: northern Africa, Middle East, Arabian peninsula, central Asiatic Altai, Atlantic islands, Canary Islands; Sinai, Israel, Jordan; east Iran up to arid mountains of northern Afghanistan, Pakistan, northwest India, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan, Kirghizistan, northwest China, Russian Altai and west Mongolia.


Movements: Je nach Brutareal sind Wüstenfalken entweder Standvögel oder Zugvögel. Von den zentralasiatischen Wüstenfalken sind Zugbewegungen bis nach Nord-Indien bekannt..


Habitat: Inland deserts, barren arid areas, wide deep wadis, gorges or rocky foothills. Also coastal and riverside cliffs (Morocco, Egypt). At sealevels of 2,000 m, in central Asial also up to 2,600 m.


Behaviour: The daily activity of the Barbary Falcon begins in the morning between 8 and 9h, during the time of the greatest heat the falcons take a „lunch break“. The second acitivity phase is during late afternoon. During hunting, it appears that the Barbary Falcon is even faster than the Peregrine Falcon. In dive maximum speeds of up to 44 m/sec are possible.





Size: 35-40 cm

Tail: 9-11 cm


♂: Ø 430 g (350-480 g)

♀: Ø 640 g (550-720 g)

Wingspan: 80-100 cm


Voice: Voice is similar to Pergrine Falcon with high-pitched cries.




Maturity: Most probably during the 2nd year.

Mating Season: December


Clutches per breeding season1 clutch

Breeding: from mid February to July; in central Asia from late February/March to ende of July

Nest: Does not build own nest. Nest platform made of sticks and branches, mostly using old nests from crows or gulls. Nest sits on ledges, cliffs, on trees, electricity pylons. Mostly uses several nests in the breeding area.


Clutch: 2-4 eggs, mostly 3 eggs

Eggs: shell colour green-white.


Egg Measurements

Length x Width: 51.0x39.0mm

Weight: ≈ 40 g


Recurrent Clutch: unknown.


Incubation: c. 32 days, incubated by ♀, which is fed by ♂


Fledging: 32-39 days.


Dependency: After fledging the juveniles are cared for by parents for up to 5 months.





Food: Preys on small to medium-sized birds of arid country; prey ranging from wheaters and larks to doves, rock pigeons, sand grouse and bats. Hunting techniques similar to Peregrine Falcon.


Longevity: There are no recorded data available. Assumably, the maximum age is about c. 20 years.


Mortality: unknown.


Threats: Most threats are down to human activit of all kind.






Bauer, Hans-Günther, Bezzel, Einhard et. al. (HG), Kompendium der Vögel Mitteleuropas, Band 1+2, Sonderausgabe 2012, Aula Verlag, Wiebelsheim

Bauer, Hans-Günther, Bezzel, Einhard et. al. (HG), Kompendium der Vögel Mitteleuropas, Band 3, Literatur und Anhang, Aula Verlag Wiebelsheim, 2. vollständig überarbeitete Auflage 1993

Bezzel, Einhard, Kompendium der Vögel Mitteleuropas, Non-Passeriformes, Band 1, AULA-Verlag Wiesbaden, 1985

Ferguson-Lees, James & Christie, David, Raptors of the World, A Field Guide, Christopher Helm London, reprinted 2019

Ferguson-Lees, James & Christie, David, Raptors of the World, Houghton Mifflin Company Boston New York, 2001

Mebs, Theodor et. al, Die Greifvögel Europas, Franck-Kosmos Verlags GmbH, 2. Auflage 2014

Svenson, Lars et. al, Der Kosmos Vogelführer, Franck-Kosmos Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, 2. Auflage 2011



Image Credits