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Falco biarmicus

warning Critically Endangered
CR (D1)

Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Barak Granit, Avner Rinot, Meidad Goren, Ohad Hatzofe
Update Time: Aug. 21, 2023, 4:32 p.m.

The Lanner Falcon is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) because of its extremely small breeding population, estimated at less than 50 mature individuals. In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was classified as Vulnerable (VU). The change in its threat category reflects the deterioration in the population as well as differences in assessment methods between the editions.
CR Current Regional Assessment | VU Previous Regional Assessment | LC Global Assessment

Habitats Desert Cliffs
Presence In Israel Resident
Breeding In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Resident
Zoographical Zones Saharo-Arabian, Sudani
Landscape Types Cliffs
Vegetation Densities Low
Nest Locations Cliffs
Diet Types Terrestrial Vertebrates
Foraging Grounds Ground, Aerial
Body Sizes Medium (500 - 1000g)
Threat Factors Nest Harvesting, Human Settlements in Gorges, Hikers and rock climbers, Pesticide Poisoning, Lead Poisoning, Hunting and trapping

The Lanner Falcon is a large and long-winged falcon, the largest falcon breeding in our region. It is a fast, aggressive raptor that hunts small birds on the wing, as well as birds and mammals on the ground. Territorial pairs often hunt together. Upper parts are dark, grey or brown, and underparts are cream colored, with delicate dark streaking. It can be recognized by its reddish cap and narrow black moustache.

A rare resident in Israel’s desert region, particularly in the Judean Desert, the Negev Highlands, the Eastern Negev and the Arava cliffs. Until the mid-20th century, it nested in most of the cliffs in Israel, both in the desert and on Mt. Carmel and the Galilee. The population in northern Israel comprised at least 30 pairs (Hatsofe et al. 2005). It disappeared during the 1960s and 1970s, mainly due to poisoning. During the last three decades, the species gradually disappeared from Eastern Samaria, the northern Judean Desert (north of Nahal Kedem), the western Negev Highlands and the southern Arava.

The Lanner Falcon nests on cliffs near open landscapes, particularly in arid areas, but also in marshes, lakes and even in forested areas – as long as there are open areas suitable for hunting nearby.

In the second half of the 20th century, almost the entire breeding population in Israel’s Mediterranean region was decimated because of secondary poisoning by agricultural pesticides. The Lanner Falcons that bred in eastern Samaria were affected by nest robbing and loss of nesting sites due to sheep herding activity in steep wadis. In addition, there is evidence that juveniles roaming to distant sites are harmed by hunting and captured for falconry both in Israel and in neighboring countries (Ohad Hatsofe, pers. comm.)

Since 1990, efforts have been made to rehabilitate the Lanner Falcon population and to reintroduce it to Israel’s Mediterranean region. In the Carmel Hai Bar, there is breeding nucleus of Lanner Falcons and every year a number of immature birds are released into nature. In 1999 a pair of falcons from the breeding nucleus was observed nesting at the Hadera Power Plant, and in 2003 and 2004 Lanner Falcons apparently nested in Nahal Kziv (Hatsofe et al. 2005).

The Lanner Falcon is classified as Critically Endangered (CR), because its population is extremely small and limited to relatively undisturbed desert areas (in the southern Judean Desert and in the Eastern Negev). For the past three decades, efforts have been made to reintroduce and rehabilitate the species, but Lanner Falcons have still not return to breed regularly in Israel’s Mediterranean region. The decision whether to continue with the reintroduction efforts depends on understanding the movement patterns of immature falcons and the threat factors resulting from them.

There is insufficient information regarding the areas in which juvenile Lanner Falcons disperse and the resulting threat factors. This information can be obtained by telemetry study of both captive and wild born individuals.

  • הצופה, א. ומירוז, א. 2015. תכנית אב לשימור העופות הדורסים בישראל. מסמך פנימי של רשות הטבע והגנים.
  • הצופה, א., וודלי, ב. ומילר, י. 2005. השבת בזי צוקים לחבל הים-תיכוני בישראל. העזניה 33, הוצאת טבע הדברים והחברה להגנת הטבע.
  • הרלינג, א. 2001. סיכום סקר קינון דורסי יום בשמורת עין גדי. דו"ח רשות הטבע והגנים.
  • מירוז, א. והצופה, א. 2014. סיכום סקר קינון עופות דורסים במדבר יהודה. דו"ח רשות הטבע והגנים.
  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.
  • פרומקין, ר., מן ש., 1984 .קנון דורסים בחבל המדברי של ישראל 1984-1980. העזניה גליון 11. הוצאת החברה להגנת הטבע.
  • פרלמן, י., אלתרמן, ש. וגרניט, ב. 2011. סקר עופות דוגרים בנחלים הפנימיים, אביב 2011. דו"ח מרכז הצפרות של החברה להגנת הטבע.
  • פרלמן, י., שוחט, א. ולבינגר, ז. 2009. סקר אטלס ציפורים בערבה סיכום שנת 2009. דו"ח מרכז הצפרות של החברה להגנת הטבע.
  • Mendelssohn, H. 1975. Report on the Status of Some Bird Species in Israel in 1974. I.C.B.P. 12:265-270.
  • Shirihai, H., 1996. The Birds of Israel. Academic Press, London.
  • Symes, A. 2013. Species generation lengths. Unpublished, BirdLife International.
  • Species page at Birdlife International
Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Barak Granit, Avner Rinot, Meidad Goren, Ohad Hatzofe

Current Occupancy Map

Current occupancy map by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
0 0 0 0 0

Distribution maps

The maps presented here provide visual information on the distribution of species in Israel from the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and breeding density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values in the current decade as determined from experts' opinion and observations from databases.

Relative Abundance 2010-2020 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
8 12 12 21 19

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Density values based primarily on the book The Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Relative Abundance 1980-1990 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
5 14 14 17 22

Occupancy 1990-2020

The map shows differences in the species breeding distribution between the 1980's breeding map and the current weighted breeding evaluation. Negative value - species previously bred in the grid and is not presently breeding; positive value - species has not previously bred in the grid and is currently breeding.

Occupancy 1990-2020
Data Missing No Change Occupancy Increase Occupancy Decrease
6 35 1 9

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020

The map shows the changes in the relative abundance of a species in each of the distribution grids between the breeding map of the 1980s and the weighted current breeding evaluation. Negative values - decline in abundance; positive values - increase in abundance; zero - no change in abundance.

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020
80 to 100 50 20 to 30 No Change 30- to 20- 50- 100- to 80- Data Missing
0 4 2 22 12 14 11 16

Red number
IUCN category
Threat Definition according to the red book
() districts
% of protected sites

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