The Lanner Falcon is our Focal Bird Species for our Overberg Threatened Bird Awareness Project for July 2017.

Lanner Falcons are handsome medium sized raptors that can be found throughout Africa and Eurasia. They are fairly common in our Overberg area, with some individuals noted overwintering in the area. In South Africa this species have been recorded as being partially migratory following rainfall patterns and rodent abundance. In the Overberg their presence are linked to agricultural cultivation and resultant high density of rodentia, peaking during cereal and crop harvests periods.

There is evidence of this species benefitting from agricultural development. Unfortunately the erection of more powerlines across the landscape has been detrimental to this and many more species, as many mortalities are recorded due to powerline collisions. They have also been noted as possibly being negatively impacted on by wind energy development.

In the mid-20th century, this species suffered a great loss in population due to trapping for falconry, as well as sport-shooting in Europe and Israel. The picture does not look much rosier currently as they are still facing threats from the collection of eggs and chicks for falconry in the far east, sport-shooting in Italy, habitat destruction, agricultural expansion and afforestation in Europe, as well as human disturbance.

The decline in the population of Falco biarmicus in southern Africa could possibly be attributed to the agro-phosphate dressing of seeds. Unfortunately, this has not yet been researched comprehensively to determine the overall effects that these agro-phosphates have on these birds. Secondary poisoning is also a big threat to this species, as they feed on the mice and rats that is exposed to pesticidal control on agricultural level.

Conservation measures currently under way in the Overberg includes the securing of tracts of land into both stewardship and easement extension, working with land owners to create awareness and support sustainable agricultural practices to minimize the effect on these birds.

Birds that are found electrocuted are reported to industry, which then supports the development of safer and more visible powerlines to minimize the impact on these and other birds in the region.

Falco biarmicus is classified as Vulnerable regionally, and as Least Concern Internationally by the IUCN.

Should you wish to assist the Overberg Crane Group with our conservation initiatives please contact Mick D’Alton at donate@bluecrane.org.za

 

Image credit: www.bionerds.co.za and Trevor Hardaker