Book Review: The Lanner Falcon by Giovanni Leonardi

Lanner-webThis book provides a world wide review 0f the ecology, behaviour, morpholoy, and breeding of the lanner falcon falco biarmicus. From historical sources to the most recent ornithological literature, a comprehensive approach reveals the uniqueness and adaptability of this falcon that ranges from the Afrotropic to the Palearctic ecozones.

You have to say ‘Hats off to Giovanni’ covering such a wonderful bird which has hardly been touched in the past other than by falconers and now he has this up to date version for you to enjoy. Historical information often came from falconers but mummified birds in Egypt showed the cult of worshipping falcons over 4000 years ago and the birds were well used by falconers after 700AD when the sport came from China.

Western Europe probable got its first birds from Crusaders returning from the Holy Land. Giovanni managed to research his Italian breeding birds now placed on the red list as so few pairs remain in Europe with lost pairs from Southern Spain as well. The ice age pushed the bird south and more races are found in Africa than anywhere else.

So a male escaped from a falconer then recorded as breeding outside Edinburgh with a Peregrine is a bit of a surprise with 3 hybrid broods produced! Giovanni showed the Lanner to be a bird of the open land for hunting and breeding so urban birds are an interesting new development even though nesting on pyramids in Egypt and Sudan have been recorded for over 200 years. So what about 2nd world war trucks in the desert and even ground nesting!

The dreaded rodenticides have yet again shown damaging effects on populations of Lanners feeding on small ground mammals, and like Ratcliffe with the Peregrine, insecticides and herbacides are showing up in eggs and carcases. I have personally seen this bird in several locations in Egypt and even had one mobbing a Barbary Falcon in Israel. Falconers from France, Belgium and possibly Germany are thought to have acquired young lanner falcons from Tunisia in the past. This is a special bird and with Giovanni’s dedication to this bird his book should help conserve it for everyone to enjoy in the wild.

Soft back 332 pages Contact

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