|Conservation status||Least concern|
The lanner falcon (Falco biarmicus) is a bird of prey found in much of Africa, Europe, and Asia.
The lanner falcon is grey to grey-brown above, with a creamy-white throat and belly bearing dark striping or spots. The head bears a reddish-brown crown above white cheeks and dark-colored eye stripes. The tail is long and barred, while the wings are somewhat rounded, unlike the pointed tips of many other falcons. Females are larger than males, darker in color and more patterned; juveniles are browner in color, with heavily-streaked underparts.
- Falco biarmicus abyssinicus; Senegal and Ghana east to Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda and northern D. R. Congo
- Falco biarmicus biarmicus; Sub-Saharan Africa
- Falco biarmicus erlangeri; Mauritania to Morocco and Tunisia
- Falco biarmicus feldeggii; southern Europe to Asia
- Falco biarmicus tanypterus; Egypt and Sudan to Arabia, Israel and Iraq
Habitat and diet
Lanner falcons inhabit various habitats from sea level to mountains up to 8,000 feet elevation, in deserts to mildly-wooded areas. As an open-country bird, lanner falcons generally avoid heavily-wooded forests.
Lanner falcons feed on birds up to the size of ducks and guineafowl; they also have been known to raid poultry farms for domestic fowl. Bats are also taken on the wing, as are small mammals, reptiles, and insects on the ground. It has also been known to steal from other raptors, and in some instances has taken advantage of birds flushed from hiding due to human hunting. Unusual among falcons, females will act as the "flusher", allowing the male to make the kill as they engage in cooperative hunting.
Pairs mate after elaborate aerial courtship displays, usually during the early part of the year, and varying with location. Between February and March, the female lays two to five eggs in a large nest on a cliff ledge, tree, or man-made tower; more often than not in the abandoned nest of another raptor or crow. Both parents take turns incubating for thirty to thirty-five days. The young fledge about forty-five days after hatching, yet are not on their own for another three months.
The ICUN lists the lanner falcon as "least concern", citing overall numbers worldwide as well as evidence it may be increasing in numbers. Evidence for the increase may have involved human activity; areas cleared of trees provided hunting grounds for the birds. However, the desire for lanner falcons in the sport of falconry has caused a decline in other areas. South Africa reported a decline in numbers, while Europe has listed the bird as endangered, estimating 850-1,700 individual birds. The after-effects of the use of pesticides has also been cited as a factor.