Photo of the Day
“Going in for the Kill”
Photo credit: Peter Thomas
This photo wonderfully conveys how handsome and powerful this bird of prey is. With wings spread, the Lanner Falcon’s creamy-white throat and underside give excellent contrast to its dark striping. This bird exhibits considerable variation throughout its range in body size, coloration and degree of spotting and barring. These falcons typically hunt by horizontal pursuit and takes bird prey in flight. Their large tails provide a maneuverability that allows them to take a variety of small birds as prey.
There are five known subspecies of Lanner Falcon today, found across Africa, the Middle East, and central and eastern areas of Mediterranean Europe. While the species as a whole has been assessed as being ‘lower risk’ by the IUCN, the European subspecies (Falco biarmicus feldeggii) is listed as ‘vulnerable’ in the European Red Book. This subspecies underwent a significant decline between 1970 and 1990 and, today, likely fewer than 480 breeding pairs of remain.
While the species is common and widespread, with the exception in Europe, this falcon is often shot and unintentionally poisoned by tainted carcasses set out for predators thought to be preying on livestock. Lanner Falcons’ eggs and chicks are sometimes illegally collected from the wild for falconry. This raptor is also threatened by continued habitat loss and use of pesticides that are believed to alter their breeding success and the availability of prey species.
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