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Falco biarmicus

warning Critically Endangered
CR (D1)

Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Barak Granit, Avner Rinot, Meidad Goren, Ohad Hatzofe

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 World Assessment

Habitats Desert Cliffs
Presence In Israel Resident
Nesting In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Resident
Zoography Zones Saharo-Arabian, Sudano-Zambezian
Landscape Formations Cliffs
Vegetation Densities Low
Nest Locations Cliffs
Diet Types Vertebrate
Foraging Grounds Aerial, Ground
Body Sizes Medium (500 - 1000g)
Threat Factors Nest Harvesting, Human Settlements in Gorges, Hiking & Climbing, Pesticide Poisoning, Lead Poisoning, Direct Persecution

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.
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  • Species page at Birdlife International
Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Barak Granit, Avner Rinot, Meidad Goren, Ohad Hatzofe

Current Occupancy Map

Distribution maps

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

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values as calculated from observation records and expert opinions.

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Breeding density values are based mainly on the book Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Occupancy difference 1990-2020

A map that expresses differences in the breeding distribution between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative value - species previously present but is currently absent, positive value - species has not been recorded previously and is currently present, zero - no change in occupancy.

Relative abundance difference 1990-2020

A map that reflects the changes in the relative abundance of the species between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative values - decline in abundance, positive values - increase in abundance, zero - no change in abundance.

Red number

IUCN category

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% of protected sites

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