- Why do we need to protect birds of prey?
Birds of prey (collectively known as raptors) are long-lived species with low rates of reproduction, characteristics that appear to be associated with high risks of extinction. Species with slow reproduction often take a long time to recover from losses. As predators, many species are naturally scarce, which further exacerbates their vulnerability to threats.
In addition, they are critical components of biodiversity and provide many ecosystem services that directly benefit people. For example, falcons eat millions of insects that threaten agricultural crops, and vultures and other raptors consume animal carcasses, which helps prevent the spread of diseases. Raptors also serve as high-level indicators of ecosystem health.
- What threats do birds of prey face?
Raptors are vulnerable to threats because of their relatively long lifespans, low reproductive rates and general scarcity − all stemming from their high position in the food web.
Threats to raptors include, but are not limited to, habitat alteration or destruction, intentional killing, intentional and unintentional poisoning, collision, electrocution, and climate change. According to Red List assessments, the most prominent causes of raptor population declines are habitat destruction and alteration via agricultural expansion and logging.
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.
- How many of these birds of prey have an unfavourable conservation status?
According to latest research, 18% percent of raptors are threatened with extinction and 52% of raptors have declining global populations.
- What is the Raptors MOU?
The Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MOU) is an inter-governmental instrument of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS), which came into effect on 1 November 2008. The Raptors MOU currently covers93 species of migratory vultures, eagles, hawks, kites, harriers, falcons and owls, which occur in 131 Range States across Africa and Eurasia.
The overall aim of the MOU is to promote internationally coordinated actions to reverse population declines and improve the conservation status of migratory birds of prey throughout the African-Eurasian region.
- Which species are listed in the Raptors MOU?
65 species of Accipitridae, 15 species of Falconidae, 12 species of Strigidae, and one species of Pandionidae. Click here for species listed under the Raptors MOU.
- How does the Raptors MOU work?
An Action Plan annexed to the MOU sets clear priorities and timescales to guide implementation of conservation actions within each Signatory State. It presents a holistic framework requiring cooperation amongst governments, NGOs, local communities and scientists. A Technical Advisory Group aims to provide expert advice to Signatories to promote implementation of the Action Plan.
Signatories adapt the implementation of the Action Plan to the needs of the raptor populations occurring in their country and have the opportunity to help shape the policy direction of the MOU as well.
A Coordinating Unit based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, administers the Raptors MOU. It is hosted by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, on behalf of the Government of the United Arab Emirates.