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Lanner Falcon
Falco biarmicus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Stable.

Other Names: Lanner, North African Lanner Falcon (F.b. erlangeri)

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Falco biarmicus
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Distribution: Afrotropical/Palearctic. Southern Europe, including former YUGOSLAVIA, ITALY, and GREECE east to GEORGIA, ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN, and northern IRAN, south through the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula, patchily through northern Africa, and from SENEGAMBIA east to ETHIOPIA and SUDAN southward through East Africa and western and northern ANGOLA to southernmost SOUTH AFRICA. more....

Subspecies: 5 races. F. b. abyssinicus: SENEGAL and GHANA east to ETHIOPIA and SOMALIA and south to UGANDA and northern ZAIRE; F. b. biarmicus: ANGOLA, southern ZAIRE and KENYA south to SOUTH AFRICA; F. b. erlangeri: Northwestern Africa from MAURITANIA to MOROCCO and TUNISIA; F. b. feldeggii: Southern ITALY, SICILY, and CRETE east through the Balkans to ARMENIA and AZERBAIJAN, south to LEBANON; winters to the Iberian Peninsula, eastern FRANCE, CZECH REPUBLIC, ROMANIA, central and northern former YUGOSLAVIA, MALTA, CYPRUS,and IRAQ; F. b. tanypterus: Northeastern Africa, including EGYPT and northern SUDAN, to Arabia, ISRAEL and IRAQ.

Taxonomy: Forms a superspecies with other "hierofalcons" [subgenus Hierofalco Kleinschmidt], a complex of "desert falcons" which includes F. jugger, F. cherrug, and F. rusticolus (Nittinger et al. 2005), and this group may also include the Black Falcon (F. subniger) of Australia (Wink et al. 2004). more....

Movements: Partial migrant (Bildstein 2006). Movements are complex. In southern Africa, van Zyl et al. (1994) categorized the species as a "partial, differential, facultative migrant," meaning that some birds are sedentary while others migrate. Immature birds are more mobile than adults, and the extent of migration varies with environmental conditions, especially rainfall patterns and their effects on prey abundance (Jenkins 1997). In northern Africa (Morocco), lanners are mostly sedentary, but there are movements in eastern Morocco and Tafilalt, where abundance varies seasonally (Thévenot et al. 2003). This species is also an altitudinal migrant in some areas. more....

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in a wide variety of habitats, ranging from deserts to forests. Apparently more limited by the availability of prey and nest sites, particularly cliffs, than by other characteristics of particular habitats, but is not as dependent as peregrines upon cliffs for nesting. Spends much time on exposed perches, but also soars, sometimes to great heights. Hunts by flying low over ground or along slopes and cliffs (Adamian and Klem 1999). Usually found in singles or pairs, but aggregations, usually of juveniles, can occur. more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds mostly on birds up to the size of sandgrouse, but also takes small mammals, reptiles, and even insects in desert areas. Much more of a dietary generalist than the peregrine. Captures prey after fast pursuits or hard stoops and often hunts in pairs. This species takes poultry in some areas. more....

Breeding: Nests on rock ledges of cliff, or in used nests of other species, including storks, crows, and raptors, both in trees and on pylons. In open desert, nests may be on the ground among rocks. Nests lower down on cliffs than the peregrine. Clutch size is 2-4 eggs, occasionally five. The sexes share incubation, which lasts 32 days, and the nestling period is about 42 days (Tarboton 1990). more....

Conservation: Widespread and common in many portions of its extensive range, although some populations, e.g., the one in southern Europe, are small and vulnerable. Generally much more common than the peregrine, where they are sympatric. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Population Estimates: The European population was estimated at 200 to 370 breeding pairs by BirdLife International/European Bird Census Council (2000) and later at 480 to 900 breeding pairs (BirdLife International 2004). more....

Important References: 
BirdLife International/European Bird Census Council. 2000. European bird
  populations: estimates and trends. BirdLife Conservation Series no. 10.
  BirdLife International,Cambridge, UK.
Brown, L.H., E.K. Urban, and K. Newman. 1982. The birds of Africa. Vol. 1.
  Academic Press, London.
Cade, T.R. 1982. Falcons of the world. Cornell University Press, Ithaca,
Corso, A. 2001. [Biology, distribution and identification of Lanner Falcon
  Falco biarmicus in Europe.] Limicola 15:1-41. (In Dutch with English
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Hartley, R.R. 2000. Ecology of Taita Falco fasciinucha, Peregrine F.
  peregrinus minor
and Lanner F. biarmicus Falcons in Zimbabwe. Pp. 87-105 in
  R.D. Chancellor and B.-U. Meyburg (eds.), Raptors at risk. World Working
  Group on Birds of Prey, Berlin, and Hancock House, Blaine, WA.
Jenkins, A.R. 1997. Lanner Falcon. Pp. 247-248 in J.A. Harrison et al.
  (eds.), The atlas of South African birds. Volume 1: Non-passerines. BirdLife
  South Africa and Avian Demography Unit, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Jenkins, A. 2000. Factors affecting breeding success of peregrines and
  Lanner Falcons in South Africa. Ostrich 71:385-392.
Jenkins, A.R., and G.M. Avery. 1999. Diets of breeding Peregrine and
  Lanner Falcons in South Africa. Journal of Raptor Research 33:190-206.
Kemp, A.C. 1993. Breeding biology of Lanner Falcons near Pretoria, South
  Africa. Ostrich 64:26-31.
Kemp, A.C. 1994. Lanner Falcon. P. 273 in del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, and J.
  Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New World vultures
  to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Leonardi, G. 2015. The Lanner Falcon.
Leonardi, G. 2001. Falco biarmicus Lanner Falcon. BWP Update 3(3):157-174.
Nittinger, F., E. Haring, W. Pinkser, M. Wink, and A.Gamauf. 2005. Out of
  Africa? Phylogenetic relationships between Falco biarmicus and the other
  hierofalcons (Aves:Falconidae). Journal of Zoological Systematics and
  Evolutionary Research 43:321-331.

Sites of Interest:
Lanner Falcon photos.
Species account, with an emphasis on European populations.

Caldarella, Matteo
Corso, Andrea
Daniel, Onoja Joseph
Jenkins, Andrew
Middleton, Angus
Ragyov, Dimitar
Sandor, Attila
Stephenson, Alan
Taranto, Paolo

Last modified: 5/18/2016

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2021. Species account: Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 12 Jun. 2021

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