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Aves bird of the week - Lanner Falcon - Falco biarmicus

Lanner Falcon

The Lanner Falcon - Falco biarmicus - occurs in southern and south-eastern Europe, the Middle East, south-western Asia and much of sub-Saharan Africa, excluding the lowland forests of the DRC and West Africa. In southern Africa it is fairly common. They are mainly resident, but some birds disperse more widely after the breeding season.


They have grey-brown to slaty upperparts, a creamy-white throat and underparts, sometimes with dark spots or striping, and a characteristic reddish-brown crown on the head. The white cheeks contrast with dark eye stripes and a long, dark ‘moustache’ below the eye, and the eye ring is bright yellow. The body is quite slender, with a long, barred tail and long, relatively blunt-ended wings that are dark at the tips. The female lanner falcon is usually larger, darker and more patterned than the male, while juveniles are much browner in colour, with heavily streaked underparts, pale blue-grey facial skin, and a duller crown.


The species is usually fairly silent, but at its breeding sites may give a variety of screams and cackling calls.


Food consists mainly birds, occasionally on small and medium mammals, reptiles and large insects. Lanner falcons practice group hunting. The female acts like a beater and hunts out victims while the male remains a bit behind, ready to swoop down on the prey. This technique, rather unusual amongst birds of prey.


A solitary nester, the nest is typically a simple scrape in sand or soil on a cliff ledge or is placed in another structure such as a building. It may also use the stick nest of other birds. The egg-laying season is from late May to early September in Southern Africa and the female lays between 1 to 5 eggs, which are incubated mainly by the female for about 32 days. The chicks are brooded constantly by the female for the first few days, after which they are brooded intermittently for about 1-2 weeks. The young eventually leave the nest after about 45 days, becoming fully independent between 1 to 3 months later.

Conservation Status –  Least concern - Near threatened in South Africa. Considered as endangered species in the EEC, where its population doesn't exceed 200 pairs. Unfortunately it happens that eggs are stolen by collectors. This poaching has been very harmful to the conservation of the species in Europe.Near-threatened in South Africa, due to local extinctions possibly caused by a vulnerability to agrochemicals. It has however benefited from the clearing of savanna and the increasing availability of free-range poultry.


Ask Aves Birding Tours/Safaris/Adventures to create a tour for you or book on one of the following Aves Birding Tour/Safaris/Adventures see these beautiful Falcons: -

Aves Arid Birding Tour/Safari/Adventure.

Aves Eastern Cape Birding Tour / Safari /Adventure.

Aves Highlands / Tembe Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves KZN Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves North East Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves North West Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves Western Cape Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.

Aves West Coast Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.


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