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Falcon, Lanner

Lanner Falcon at the LA Zoo Photo Credit Paul Bronstein

Scientific Name: Falco biarmicus

The lanner falcon does not build its own nest; instead, it lays its eggs in the nests of other birds of prey while they are away.

Lanner falcons are known for their speed and agility when flying, a skill needed by all birds of prey to survive.

Horizontal Hunters

Unlike typical birds of prey that swoop down from tall heights to kill, the lanner falcon uses a method known as “horizontal” hunting, meaning they attack their prey from the ground level, offering an extra element of surprise to their attack.

These birds are also unusual in their hunting tactics. Typically living in male and female pairs, lanner falcons use a team-oriented approach when hunting, and often do not hunt when they are alone. First, the female will use her keen eyesight to spot nearby prey and then the male, who is only a few steps behind her, will dart in to kill the unsuspecting prey before it knows it has been spotted. This method of catching prey allows for both individuals to be effective hunters; however, this strategy does not work well when these individuals are separated from one another. These birds like to work in teams and this teamwork is one of the most effective methods of survival in the natural world.

The lanner falcon is listed as of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The lanner falcon resides in Africa, southeast Europe, and in some regions of western Asia.

This species typically feeds on smaller birds like pigeons and jackdaws, however they are also known for feeding on small mammals, reptiles, and large insects.

The lanner falcon is one of the largest falcons, measuring between 16 and 20 inches in height and has a wingspan between 36 and 45 inches. This species weighs about one or two pounds, with females tending to be slightly larger than males. The back of this bird is typically dark grey in color, with a slightly paler front. The top of its head is a sort of dull red, with white circles surrounding the eyes and a black mustache running down its cheeks. The beak of the lanner falcon is a greyish blue. The juveniles of this species are typically brown or bluish grey in color and have a black-streaked undercoat.

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