Rare Falcon of the Desert

Ornithologists used to think this slate gray falcon was comfortably abundant but no one had thoroughly counted them.  Now that they have, the bird’s been listed as Near Threatened.

Slightly smaller than a peregrine, the sooty falcon (Falco concolor) nests from Libya to Pakistan and spends the winter at Madagascar and the east African coast.  Like a peregrine it eats birds it captures on the wing. Like a kestrel it also eats dragonflies and large flying insects.

Scientists didn’t know much about sooty falcons because they nest in deserts where it’s extremely hot and inhospitable to humans.  Their nesting colonies are located where daytime temperatures reach 122oF !     (50oC)

With renewed interest in this Near Threatened falcon, scientists used remote cameras to video them on a desert island in Oman.  Notice how much the birds pant in the heat.

Soon we’ll know more about this rare falcon of the desert.


For additional information read Sooty Falcons in Oman: Reproduction and population dynamics of a poorly studied, Near Threatened, colony-nesting raptor.

(video trailer for The Migrant – The Sooty Falcon in Oman on Vimeo)

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