Experts Join Forces to Protect the Sooty Falcon

25. March 2013

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

Webcam for Saker Falcon nest in Hungary

20. March 2013

You can follow breeding Saker Falcons via a webcam here:

New interview with Gregorio Moreno-Rueda about the Short-toed Eagle in Spain and it’s impact on snake biodiversity

12. March 2013

A new interview about the Short-toed Eagle in Spain and it’s possible influences on snake biodiversity has just been published.

The Short-toed Eagle in Spain and it’s impact on snake biodiversity.

In this interview Gregorio shares his knowledge about the feeding ecology of Short-toed Eagles in Spain, their threats, why they lay only one egg and how the future looks like for those impressive raptors in Spain.

Gregorio also talks about the possible impact of Short-toed Eagles on snake biodiversity.

Research has shown again and again how important top predators are. Most studies involve large carnivores like wolves, pumas or tigers. But eagles may play a similar role in some landscapes.

It could be possible that other snake eating eagles (e.g. Crested Eagle and Solitary in the Neotropics or other Snake Eagles in Africa/Asia) might have a similar influence on snake species. Unfortunately I don’t know if this has ever been studied.

Many scientific papers about migratory raptors available on MEDRAPTORS

5. March 2013

The MEDRAPTORS website has lot’s of information about migrating raptors and many scientific publications are available for download.
It is great that this scientific information is made available for everybody who is interested in raptor ecology and migration.
To find the papers, click here:

Webcam for White-tailed Eagle in Hungary

19. February 2013

A new webcam showing breeding White-tailed Eagles can be found here:

If everything goes well, the chicks should hatch in the 2nd half of March.

150 dangerous poles made safe for raptors and other birds in Bulgaria

3. February 2013

Electrocution is still one of the most serious threats for raptors including the Eastern Imperial Eagle.
In Bulgaria 150 dangerous poles have now been isolated so that eagles and other birds no longer get electrocuted.

Of 22 satellite tracked eagles 8 have already died of electrocution. This is too high for a species with a rather low reproduction rate like an eagle. The efforts are now focused on the breeding and hunting territories of the Eastern Imperial Eagles in Bulgaria.

For more information see here:
150 more electricity poles protected against birds electrocution

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

20. January 2013
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

Upcoming book: A Saga of Sea Eagles by John A. Love

16. January 2013

Whittles Publishing recently announced an upcoming book about the White-tailed Eagle written by John A. Love.

The description of the book by the publisher:

  • A personal account from the author’s own experiences, enriched with his photographs and illustrations
  • Summary of eagles, their classification and folklore focussing on the Sea Eagle group
  • Provides a background to the reintroduction of the White-tailed Sea Eagle to Scotland and the UK
  • Current status of Sea Eagles in the UK and the economic benefits

More information on the publishers website:
A Saga of Sea Eagles

This is a welcome addition to some other fine raptor books by the same publisher and to the available literature about Europe’s larged eagle species!

First issue of the online Newsletter “The Return of the Neophron” about the LIFE+ project of the Egyptian vulture in Bulgaria and Greece published

9. January 2013

The Egyptian vulture is an endangered species over most of it’s range. The good news is that many people are working to protect it.
In Bulgaria and Greece there is a very important LIFE+ project for the species. The project has now published their first English newsletter.

The newsletter can be found here (PDF):

To learn more about the LIFE+ project, click here:;
The Return of the Neophron

Eastern Imperial Eagle electrocuted in Turkey

31. December 2012

Electrocution is still a serious threat to many raptors incl. both Imperial Eagle species, Bonelli’s Eagles and many other large birds like White Storks.

A Bulgarian Eastern Imperial Eagle named Krum recently died of electrocution in Turkey. The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds tracks several Eastern Imperial Eagles to learn more about their behavior and mortality as part of a conservation program.

More information about the bird and also about the conservation efforts for the species in Bulgaria can be found here:
Another Imperial eagle fall a victim to electrocution in Turkey