Birds of Prey (Raptors)

The CMS Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MOU) aims to promote internationally coordinated actions to achieve and maintain the favourable conservation status of migratory birds of prey throughout their range in the African-Eurasian region, and to reverse their decline when and where appropriate.

Raptors face a variety of human-induced threats such as habitat loss and degradation, illegal shooting and poisoning, collisions with aerial structures and electrocution by power lines. Migratory raptors are particularly at risk due to the often long and arduous annual journeys from their breeding grounds to wintering areas and back.  Moreover, some species either migrate in large groups or form major concentrations along their flyways, for example, at narrow land bridges or sea crossings, which enhance the potential impact of some threats.

In 2005, a year-long study commissioned by the United Kingdom (UK) Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) found that more than 50% of migratory birds of prey populations in the African-Eurasian region were in poor conservation status, and many species were showing rapid or long-term declines.  The UK presented the results of the Defra study to CMS COP8and Resolution 8.12 was adopted, which urged Parties to explore whether the development of a CMS instrument would assist in promoting the conservation of African-Eurasian migratory birds of prey. The Governments of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the UK jointly led an initiative to act on this Resolution. After a meeting to identify and elaborate an option for international cooperation on raptors held in October 2007 and a second meeting of Range States held in October 2008, the Raptors MOU was concluded and it came into effect on 1 November 2008.

The Raptors MOU currently covers 93 species of birds of prey and owls (Pandionidae 1 species, Accipitridae 65 species, Falconidae 15 species, and Strigidae 12 species) which occur in 132 Range States in Africa, Europe and Asia.

An Action Plan is included as an Annex to the Raptors MOU with the following key objectives:

  1. To halt and reverse the population declines of globally threatened (Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable) and Near Threatened birds of prey and to alleviate threats to them such that they are no longer globally threatened or Near Threatened;
  2. To halt and reverse the population declines of other birds of prey with an Unfavourable Conservation Status within Africa and Eurasia and alleviate threats in order to return their populations to Favourable Conservation Status;
  3. To anticipate, reduce and avoid potential and new threats to all bird of prey species, especially to prevent the populations of any species undergoing long-term decline.

Signatories to the Raptors MOU commit to adopting and implementing measures to conserve migratory birds of prey and their habitats, for example, by: providing a legal framework to protect migratory species and a network of habitats and sites along their flyways; identifying important habitats, congregation sites and favoured routes; supporting relevant research and monitoring of populations, sharing results internationally; and, developing cooperative international projects and initiatives to promote effective conservation efforts.

Currently the Coordinating Unit of the Raptors MOU is managing or facilitating three important work streams: Multi-species Action Plan to Conserve African-Eurasian Vultures (Vulture MsAP); Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the Raptors MOU, Saker Falcon Task Force (STF) and Sooty Falcon Working Group (SFWG). The Vulture MsAP covers the whole geographic ranges (127 countries) of 15 species of Old World vultures to promote concerted, collaborative and coordinated internaional conservation actions.  The document is currently beign developed with the aim to be presented at CMS COP12. The TAG was established to support Signatories in the effective implementation of the Raptors MOU, including the Action Plan, which includes taking on priority tasks identified by the Signatories. The mission of the STF is to bring together range states and stakeholders to develop a coordinated Saker Falcon Global Action Plan, including a management and monitoring system. The SFWG aims to create an International Species Action Plan, establish an accessible library of information on Sooties, and facilitate research, monitoring and conservation actions on the species.

The Raptors MOU is administered by a Coordinating Unit based in Abu Dhabi, UAE.  It is funded and hosted by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, on behalf of the Government of the United Arab Emirates.



Titlesort descending Status Status date CMS Party number Region
Cameroon Range State 1 Africa
Central African Republic Range State Sig Africa
Chad MOU Signatory 2008 51 Africa
China Range State AM Asia
Comoros MOU Signatory 2015 AM Africa
Congo (Brazzaville) MOU Signatory 2008 66 Africa
Côte d'Ivoire MOU Signatory 2017 83 Africa
Croatia MOU Signatory 2015 70 Europe
Cyprus Range State 77 Europe
Czech Republic MOU Signatory 2014 44 Europe
Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa) MOU Signatory 2008 34 Africa
Denmark MOU Signatory 2011 1 Europe
Djibouti MOU Signatory 2008 87 Africa
Egypt MOU Signatory 2013 1 Africa
Equatorial Guinea MOU Signatory 2008 114 Africa
Eritrea Range State 89 Africa
Estonia Range State 110 Europe
Ethiopia Range State 113 Africa
European Union MOU Signatory 2011 1 Europe
Finland MOU Signatory 2008 28 Europe
Instrument nameMemorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia
TypeArticle IV(4)
DepositaryCMS Secretariat
SignatureSigned by 59 Range States/Territories/REIO and 5 Co-operating Partners
In effectOn first day of month following date on which there are at least 8 Signatories, including at least 2 each from Europe, Asia & Africa; open for signature indefinitely, becomes effective for each subsequent RS on 1st day of month following signature date
Website URL
OtherSigned also by 5 Co-operating Partners: CMS Secretariat (22.10.2008), BirdLife International (4.12.2008), the International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey (16.12.2011), IUCN Species Survival Commission Vulture Specialist Group (29.11.2017), and The Peregrine Fund (24.10.2017).
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