Experts Join Forces to Protect the Sooty Falcon

Abu Dhabi, 11 March 2013 - The Sooty Falcon (Falco concolor) is a fast, highly agile bird of prey that feeds on small birds and insects captured in flight. It is classified as 'Near Threatened' in the IUCN Red List and is listed in ‘Category 1’ (Globally and Near Threatened species) of the CMS Raptors MOU, primarily due to suspected population declines.                                           

It breeds in harsh desert and semi-arid habitats, in and around the Middle East, and spends the winter on Madagascar, with small numbers remaining along the South-East littoral zone of Africa.

However, information on the species’ ecology is fragmented and incomplete, particularly about the migration and wintering periods of its lifecycle. There is a pressing need to gather more accurate and comprehensive information on the Sooty Falcon, including about its global population status and the main threats causing its decline.

The Coordinating Unit (CU) of the Raptors MOU, in close collaboration with Range States*, specialist ornithologists and other interested parties, is leading the development of an International Single Species Action Plan (ISSAP) for the Sooty Falcon. A highly qualified ornithologist has been recruited as Coordinator for the ISSAP. Dr. Umberto Gallo-Orsi, who holds a PhD in Wildlife Management and a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine, has been an independent consultant working for bird conservation for 20 years. He has extensive experience of the species action planning process and in coordinating Working Groups at the international level.

Over the next twelve months, Dr Gallo-Orsi will work with the CU to establish and coordinate the Sooty Falcon Working Group; review existing knowledge and published literature relating to the ecology and conservation of the Sooty Falcon; develop and maintain an information resource base; and, prepare a draft Sooty Falcon ISSAP for review at an Action Planning Workshop expected to take place in the latter part of 2013.

However, the success of this project will not be possible without extensive international collaboration and cooperation with all Range States, specialists and others interested in this iconic species. A database of contacts has already been established and further information will be available soon. In the meantime, anyone interested in contributing to this important initiative, please contact: Nick P. Williams, Programme Officer (Birds of Prey - Raptors), CMS Office - Abu Dhabi. Email: nwilliams(a)


* Sooty Falcon Range States/Territories include (Signatories to the Raptors MOU are highlighted in bold): Bahrain, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, France (Overseas Territories), Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen and Zambia.


Last updated on 23 April 2018

Falco concolor
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