BirdLife Species Factsheet for Sooty Falcon: http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/sooty-falcon-falco-concolor
Sooty Falcon, Falco concolor, is a migratory falcon which has a discontinuous breeding range, within which the species is highly localised. Pockets of breeding birds have been reported from Libya, through to Egypt, and the Middle East, with records from islands in the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and off the coast of Saudi Arabia and Yemen (e.g. Aspinall 1994). There have also been recent records of nesting in Iran (Fahimi and Jowkar 2010). In the non-breeding season it is predominantly found in Madagascar, though a very small population is found the other side of the Mozambique Channel in Mozambique and South Africa. It is currently listed as Near Threatened because, although lacking in data, it is suspected to have a moderately small, declining population.
Population estimates have ranged in the past from 1,000-40,000 pairs, roughly equivalent to 2,000-80,000 mature individuals and 3,000-120,000 individuals in total (Nicoll et al. 2008), and such a wide range clearly needed refinement to better assess the species. The draft International Single Species Action Plan for the species has provided clearer population estimates, with the breeding population estimated at 1,400-2,000 pairs (Gallo-Orsi et al. 2014 unpublished), equating to 2,800-4,000 mature individuals. The draft ISSAP also reports that there have been declines in the breeding population in many countries, with no population known to be increasing (Gallo-Orsi et al. 2014 unpublished). Such declines have rarely been quantified, and not over a given timeframe so the rate of decline over 3 generations cannot be effectively estimated, but it is highly likely that the population is declining overall.
Given the migratory nature of this species it is suggested that the total population be treated as one sub-population. Therefore, this species would meet the threshold for Vulnerable under criterion C2a(ii) (a population undergoing a continuing decline with all individuals in one sub-population, consisting of 2,500-9,999 mature individuals). Therefore, it is proposed that Sooty Falcon be uplisted to Vulnerable under criterion C2a(ii).
We welcome any comments regarding this proposed uplisting.
Aspinall, S. 1994. Sooty Falcons in the United Arab Emirates. Tribulus 42(2): 14-18.
Fahimi, H.; Jowkar, H. 2010. Recent observation of the Sooty Falcon Falco concolor in Central Iran. Balaban 2: 43-44. [In Persian with English summary].
Gallo-Orsi, U.; Williams, N. P.; Javed, S.; McGrady, M. 2014 unpublished. Draft International Single Species Action Plan for the Sooty Falcon Falco concolor. CMS Raptors MoU.
Nicoll, M.; McGrady, M.; Williams, N. 2008. Micro-chipping of Sooty Falcons on islands off northern Oman. Falco: 20-21.