We report a significant reduction in population size and breeding success for the Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus in Sicily, its biggest stronghold in Europe, since the latest coordinated survey.
Aims: To provide updated information on current population size of Lanner Falcon in Sicily and to compare breeding parameters with those obtained in previous studies. Methods: We performed an intensive coordinated field survey and literature review of breeding success parameters across the species range.
Results: Overall, we monitored 126 territories throughout Sicily where the species had been reported in the last 15 years. Lanner Falcons were present only in 60 of them. Mean nest productivity (± standard deviation) was 1.09 ± 1.18 fledged young/checked pairs, flight rate was 2.22 ± 0.52 fledged young/successful pairs and breeding success was 49.0%.
Conclusions: Indirect measures aimed at preventing abandonment of occupied territories should be applied, for instance by developing a network of priority areas and slowing down degradation of the pseudo-steppe habitats by agri-environmental schemes. Additionally, direct measures aimed at preventing nest robbery, including the organization of nest guarding activities, and reduction of anthropogenic disturbance and illegal shooting, must be encouraged in order to avoid territory abandonment.