Falco Biarmicus is chestnut extending to neck and mantle, and underparts barred. Female larger and often darker than male. Juvenile brown above, underparts heavily streaked with dark grey, facial skin pale blue , not yellow. To the N races have underparts finely spotted with black, whereas almost unmarked in S populations. Races also differ in size and intensity of coloration.

Lanner Falcon inhabits a major part of Africa and Arabia. In Europe its distribution is restricted to Italy and Greece. The total population of the European Union has strongly decreased since 1950. Direct persecution – as for all raptors – and collecting of fledglings by falconers are the main reasons for this decline, which seems to be still in progress.
In the early 1990’s, the European population of subspecies feldeggii was estimated to be 250-300 pairs, 70% of which bred in Italy (and 60 % of these in Sicily). More recent information suggests a larger population, totalling 328-431 pairs. There seems to have been a steep decline in numbers in Europe, although there is a lack of accurate census data and results from different methodologies are difficult to compare. The population of subspecies erlangeri is considered to total 1350-1400 pairs, while the tanypterus subspecies is estimated in 75-80 pairs. The Palearctic population of Falco biarmicus is therefore estimated to total 1753-1921 pairs, although this remains provisional since data for many range countries are based on historic information or are missing. In particular, information for Morocco (which supports over 50% of the Palearctic population) is very incomplete. Also, data for Turkey is poor, where about 30% of the feldeggii population is thought to occur.

The Lanner Falcon breeds at 50-1150 m in Sicily, but most often around 500m. In other continental areas it may breed at higher altitude (Mirabelli 1981), but always in places with an arid climate and preferably a southern aspect. It rarely breeds on sea cliffs. In Sicily, the typical habitat is arid valleys dominated by rocky cliffs of moderate height (70-80 m), with sparse uncultivated land, pastures, and non-irrigated arable land. Nests are located generally at 30-35 m height. Typical hunting habitat is expansive rocky terrain and inland steppes, while forested areas are avoided generally.

 

The ecology of the species is poorly known and most of the available information originates from Italy. The Lanner Falcon breeds in isolated pairs, using rocky cliffs as nest sites. The African subspecies breeds also in trees and on electricity pylons. The eggs are laid in cavities or holes, deserted nests of Corvids and other raptors, and (rarely) on ledges. Cliffs used for breeding is commonly composed of calcareous, tufaceous and sandstone rock. The species is monogamous and the mating period begins in December-January in southern areas. The clutch (usually 3-4 eggs, sometimes 2 eggs) is laid between the end of February and mid-March, and is incubated by both sexes. Hatching takes place usually in mid-April, and the chicks are fed mainly by the female. Fledging occurs usually in mid May, but extremes are early April too early June. In Sicily the fledging-rate is 2.3 juv./pair, while in Emilia-Romagna (Italy), the northern range limit, it is 1.7 juv./pair. In central Italy, productivity appears to be low (at 1.1 juv./pair.

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