Falco subbuteo

Range & Status

Palearctic; in Britain and Ireland increasing; 6090 pairs in the 1950s had increased to 450 pairs by 1991 and 2000 by the year 2000.

Regional Distribution

Cornwall: increasing summer visitor and passage migrant in small numbers. Formerly a very sporadic breeder but one or two pairs have bred annually in recent years in the east of Cornwall. Isles of Scilly: annual, but scarce, on passage.

Habitat & Ecology

Formerly associated with heathland, but now utilise a variety of wooded country with access to open areas for hunting. It specialises in catching insects, especially dragonflies and small birds on the wing.


Human disturbance. Clear-felling of woodland.


Protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Listed (long list) as a globally threatened/declining species (BSGR, 1995).