Identification of saker falcon by age:

  1. Chick pullus (Pull): Non-flying chick in the nest. White feathers, legs and cere are bluish
  2. Juvenile (Juv): Young bird fledged in the year of observation. Darker than adults. The breast is more uniformly marked, the cream or red coloured stripe – wider than at adults - on the end of tail feathers is well visible.
  3. Immature or subadult (Imm): One to three years. From January of the year following fledging to December of third year. They moult twice during this period, plumage is getting paler. Legs and cere are gradually turning yellow from bluish.
  4. Adult (Ad): Starting from the fourth calendar year (4 cy). Wide dark 'patches' on the head, neck and breast become thinner, thus giving a paler impression. Legs, cere and eye-ring are yellow. Yellow is brighter on males.

Sexing: Females are usually 20% larger and more dark than males.


Terms describing habitats:

  • Eyrie or territory: A 2 km radius area having the nest in the centre, where breeding or breeding attempt occured in the given or previous year. Eyries may be of different sizes depending on habitat. It is important to know the breeding pair and its nest as this is the base to delimit the eyrie.
  • Foraging area: Areas where sakers were observed hunting, attempting to hunt or feeding.
  • Potential breeding and foraging areas: A five km radius area of nest sites known in the last ten years, and temporary settlement areas, where sakers could be observed in pair
  • Roost site: Sites in the eyrie or foraging area regularly used by sakers for roosting.


Types of artificial nests:

  1. Wooden nest: We install them mostly on trees. Earlier it was used on pylons too. It is made of wood, rectangular and open.
  2. Covered aluminium nest box: They are installed mostly on pylons of power lines. It is cube shaped, made of aluminium and open from two sides.
  3. Braided (basket-like) artificial nest: Mostly used on tree. It is used in Slovakia.
  4. Articifial nest made of twigs: Used on trees. Made of thick twigs, centre is filled with soil and leaves.
  5. Open aluminium nest platform: used mostly on pylons. Made of aluminium, open, triangular shaped.

In the frame of the programme, type 1 and 2 are installed in Hungary and type 1 and 3 in Slovakia.


Tagging birds:

PIT ring: We used PIT (Passive Integrated Transmitter) rings for individual marking of sakers. It is an aluminium ring with an micro-antenna that transmits an individual code to the receiver, when it gets energy from outside (see PIT-antenna), thus the individual can be identified. (Colour-rings on sakers get dirty easily making reading impossible, therefore we use PIT rings.) PIT rings are used on the right leg of birds.

PIT-antenna and reader: It is used for reading PIT rings. It consists of a ring-shaped antenna, a cabel and the reader. The antenna is placed in the ring, where saker with PIT ring was observed. As soon as the ring gets within 4 cm of the antenna, it transmits the code to the reader. After that the antenna can be removed from the nest.   

Ornithological ring: we use it on the left leg of the bird.


PTT (Platform Transmitter Terminal): A device used for tracking sakers and mounted on the bird as a rucksack. With their use, sakers can be tracked with high accuracy.  

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