Category Archives: Falcons

New German Hobby book with English summary

A new German book about the Eurasian Hobby is out.
It is written in German but has an extended English summary at the end.
It covers the Hobby in Carinthia (a state in Austria) but the information is relevant for everyone interested in the Hobby no matter where you live because it covers in detail the ecology and behavior of this fascinating little Falcon.
Of particular interested is the detailed description of the hunting behavior of the Hobby.

The author is Remo Probst, a leading raptor expert in Austria who has studied the Hobby and other raptor species like Goshawks, European Honey Buzzards and White-tailed Eagles for many years.


– Title: “Der Baumfalke in Kärnten. Eine inneralpine Studie zur Ökologie des Kleinfalken.”
– 256 pages., 81 pictures., 24 tables
– Complete biology incl. description of 800 hunting flights
– Extended English Summary!
– 21 € (+ shipping)
– Order:

Experts Join Forces to Protect the Sooty Falcon

Please read the following important message about the Sooty Falcon from Umberto Gallo Orsi.

The Sooty Falcon (Falco concolor) is a fast, highly agile bird of prey that feeds on small birds and insects captured in flight. It is classified as ‘Near Threatened’ in the IUCN Red List and is listed in ‘Category 1’ (Globally and Near Threatened species) of the UNEP/CMS Raptors MOU, primarily due to suspected population declines.
It breeds in harsh desert and semi-arid habitats, in and around the Middle East, and spends the winter on Madagascar, with small numbers remaining along the South-East littoral zone of Africa.
However, information on the species’ ecology is fragmented and incomplete, particularly about the migration and wintering periods of its lifecycle. There is a pressing need to gather more accurate and comprehensive information on the Sooty Falcon, including about its global population status and the main threats causing its decline.
The Coordinating Unit (CU) of the Raptors MOU, in close collaboration with Range States*, specialist ornithologists and other interested parties, is leading the development of an International Single Species Action Plan (ISSAP) for the Sooty Falcon. I have been asked to coordinate ISSAP process.
Over the next twelve months, I’ll work with the CU to establish and coordinate the Sooty Falcon Working Group; review existing knowledge and published literature relating to the ecology and conservation of the Sooty Falcon; develop and maintain an information resource base; and, prepare a draft Sooty Falcon ISSAP for review at an Action Planning Workshop expected to take place in the latter part of 2013.
However, the success of this project will not be possible without extensive international collaboration and cooperation with all Range States, specialists and others interested in this iconic species. A database of contacts has already been established and further information will be available soon.
In the meantime, anyone interested in contributing to this important initiative, can contact me at

New record for Saker Falcons in Austria in 2012: 26 pairs raise 37 young

Saker Falcon

Recently fledged young Saker Falcon, Austria. © Richard Zink

The Saker Falcon was almost extinct in Austria in the seventies and it is a rare species over most of it’s range and currently classified as Endangered by Birdlife International. Thanks to conservation efforts in Austria and also neighboring countries like Slovakia and Hungary the population has increased and in 2012 a new record was achieved with 26 pairs raising 37 young.
This is a great success for the globally endangred species.
Conservation efforts includ monitoring during the breeding season and putting up nest platforms on electricity pylons. The nest platforms help to increase the breeding success as they are safer during storms and not accessible to predators like martens or humans who want to steal the egg or young.

The breeding areas in eastern Austria are great for the Saker Falcons with plenty of prey like pigeons and young hares. They also benefit from habitat improvements made for other species like the Great Bustard as this increases the prey base.

More information (in German) can be found here:
Rekordjahr für den Sakerfalken: 37 Jungvögel in Österreich

New Interview with Gordon Riddle about the Eurasian Kestrel the UK


Kestrel female with brood in an old crow's nest

Kestrel female with brood in an old crow’s nest.
© Gordon Riddle

I am happy to announce a new interview, this time with Gordon Riddle about the Eurasian or Common in the United Kingdom.

Interview with Gordon Riddle about the Eurasian Kestrel the UK

The Eurasian or Common Kestrel is a widespread raptor and popular not only among bird watchers and ornithologists. He can be found in most European countries, often in agricultural areas or even in big cities but also in remote locations like the alps where it sometimes has to fight much bigger raptors like Golden Eagles who come to close to it’s nest.

Sadly, in many countries researches and bird watchers have seen a decline in Kestrel numbers, at least in part due to intensification of agriculture and loss of habitat and prey species.

In this new interview, Gordon Riddle, who has been studying the little falcon for almost 40 years, talks about the biology and conservation of the Kestrel in the UK and beyond and explains what must be done to make sure that future generations will see as many or more Kestrels then we do today.

Gordon is also the author of the soon to be published book Kestrels for company. See the interview for more information about the book.

New interview with Klaus-Dietrich Fiuczynski about the Eurasian Hobby in Germany


hobby chicks in nest

Hobby chicks in nest, © Klaus-Dietrich Fiuczynski

A new interview is available, this time about the Eurasian Hobby in Germany:

Interview with Klaus-Dietrich Fiuczynski about the Eurasian Hobby in Germany

The Eurasian Hobby is a beautiful and elegant little falcon. A long distance migrant, it only spends a few months in Europe.
In this interview, Klaus-Dietrich Fiuczynski talks about the biology and conservation of the Eurasian Hobby in Germany.

Klaus talks about threats to the Hobby, what can be done to protect the species in the future, what gaps in our knowledge of the Hobby still exists and much more.

Klaus has been studying the Hobby for many years and has just published (together with Paul Sömmer) the 5th edition of a German monograph about the species.

See the interview and the links at the bottom for more information about the book.

New Falco newsletter of the Middle East Falcon Research Group available

The latest edition (number 36) of Falco, the newsletter of the Middle East Falcon Research Group is now available:

Is has information on vultures and diclofenac, raptor trade in Yemen, lot’s of information on Saker Falcons and much more.
It also has an article about the Peregrine Fund, an US-based NGO working for raptor conservation (I highly recommend joining them as a member to support their work!).

SEO/Birdlife Spain publishes results from census of Golden Eagles, Egyptian Vultures, Osprey, Griffon Vultures and Peregrine Falcons

SEO/Birdlife Spain has recently published the results from census of Golden Eagles, Egyptian Vultures, Osprey, Griffon Vultures and Peregrine Falcons in Spain in 2008.
To gather all those date, a huge effort by many people was needed. SEO publishes all the results in free e-books (in PDF format).
Click on the cover of each PDF to download it.

Golden Eagle
Egyptian Vulture
Griffon Vulture
Peregrine Falcon

The reports are very detailed, for example the one on the Golden Eagle has 189 pages.

Other results from earlier censuses can be found here (incl. Bonelli’s Eagle, Cinereous Vulture, several harrier species, Eleonora’s Falcon and many other birds):

The new results are very interesting. For example, for the Golden Eagle, the census found 1,553 definite pairs and 216 likely pairs which gives a Spanish population of 1,769 pairs. This makes Spain very important for the conservation of the Golden Eagle in Europe.