Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus)



The Lanner Falcon is a medium-large to large falcon. It is mainly distributed in the Palearctic and Afrotropical region. During winter and passage periods it mainly appears in southern Europe: Italy, Balkan, the east Mediterranean. It seems to breed around the Black Sea area, Israel, Jordan, Sinai and in parts of the Arabian peninsula.




Geographical Variations of the Lanner Falcon


There are five sub-species / races known, most of them in Africa.

  • Falco biarmicus biarmicus - Angola to east Zaire, Uganda, south Kenya and southwards to Cape Province (South Africa).
  • Falco b. feldeggii - Italy to Asia Minor, Azerbaijan
  • Falco b. tanypterus - Middle East to northeast Africa, further west to eastern Lybia, and southwards to Sudan.
  • Falco b. erlangeri - northwest Africa and eastwards to central Lybia, more southwards to Mauritania and to southern Sahara. - smallest and palest sub-species of the Lanner
  • Falco b. abyssinicus - tropical sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal/Gambia (Senegambia) eastwards to Ethiopia and Somalia, southwards to northern Kenya.


lanner falcon
Lanner Falcon


Description - Characteristics: Lanner Falcon


Breeding – Clutch – Measurements – Habitat – Diet - Threats



Order: Falconiformes

Family: Falconidae

Genus: Falco

Species: Lanner Falcon


Scientific Name: Falco [rusticolus] biarmicus


Names and Synonyms of the Lanner Falcon


Name in German: Lannerfalke

Name in French: Faucon lanier

Name in Dutch: Lannervalk

Name in Spanich: Halcón Borní

Name in Italian: Lanario

Name in Finnish: Keltapäähaukka

Name in Danish: Lannerfalk

Name in Swedish: Slagfalk

Name in Polish: Raróg górski

Name in Russian: Lanner Ланнер

Name in Hebrew: בז צוקים

Name in Afrikaans: Edelvalk

Name in Arabic: صقر الغزال, صقر حر

Name in Sotho: Pekwa

Name in Swahili: Kozi Marumbi

Name in Tswana: Phakwê

Name in Shona: Rukodzi

Name in Tsonga: Rikhozi

Name in Xhosa: Ukhetshe

Name in Zulu: uHeshe

Name in Kwangali: Kakodi


Characteristics of the Lanner Falcon


Distribution: Both Palearctic and Afrotropical: South and southeast Europe, Middle East, southwesternmost Asia and Africa (there overlapping with Saker).


In Europa kommt der Lannerfalke in den trockenen Gebieten Südeuropas vor und dort hauptsächlich in Ungarn, auf dem Balkan, Griechenland und auf Sizilien.


Movements: Largely resident, juveniles are migratory.


Wintering: Italian peninsula, Sicily, Balkan, Greece, Turkey, Black Sea area, Iran, Iraq, east Mediterranean; Israel, Jordan, Sinai.


Habitat: open and dry country, habitat ranges from extreme desert to forestine mountains, desert and semi-desert, rocky wadis and canyons in barren uplands, open and lightly wooded savannah and all kind of grassland. .


Behaviour Good gliding abilities, using thermals to soar high. In flight slow wing beat, much slower than Peregrine Falcon. The Lanner cuts ist prey on the ground and also in flight. Lanner tend to hunt in parties.



lanner falcon
Lanner Falcon





♂ 44 cm

♀ 49 cm

Tail: 17-20 cm


♂ 500-600 g

♀ 700-900 g


♂: 100 cm

♀: 110 cm


Voice: Silent when away from breeding area. Calls are similar to those of the larger falcons, harsh screams and cackles, often uttered as rhythmic series.




Maturity: Mature from 2nd to 3rd year.

Mating Season: Monogamous breeding pair, though because of ist loyalty to the breeding gound, relationships can last for several years. In southern Europe mating season starts as early as February.


eggs of lanner falcon
Eggs of the Lanner Falcon - source: By Roger Culos - Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 4.0,


Clutches per breeding season1 clutch

Breeding: In central Europa from mid March to June; over the entire area in Europe and northern Africa February to July; east Africa June to October and December to March; southern Africa May to February peaking between August to November.


Nest: Lanner falcons do not build own nests but use the nests of other large raptors, herons, storks or crows. Nest sits on cliff ledges, rocky outcrops, only rarely on ground. In central Europe nests sit on tall trees, and on cliff ledges and outcrops.

Clutch: (rarely 2-) 3-5 (max. -6) Eier

Eggs: broad oval eggs, yellowish shell with stains in red, black or yellow-brown.


Recurrent Clutch: possible when clutch is lost. New clutch only after c 30 days after loss..


Laying Interval: 2-3 days.

Begin of incubating: after laying the third egg.


Incubation: 36-38 days, it is mostly the ♀ incubating, while being fed by the ♂, which also keeps watch over clutch and ♀..

Hatching: All chicken hatch within a day.


Fleding: Chicken are huddled by ♀ during first days; female feeds the chicken with the food brought by ♂. After the end of week three the ♀ also hunts and feeds the juveniles. Fledging after 42-45 days.

Dependency: After fledging the immatures are being fed and cared for by parents for another 4-6 weeks. After 60 days a parent accompanies the immatures during hunting flights.


lanner falcon
Lanner Falcon




Food: Between 68 and 84% of the prey are birds, the rest is small mammals (rodents). In eastern Europe the main prey is the ground squirrel; also bats, insects, locally also reptiles and only rarely amphibians; occasionally also carrion is eaten.


Longenvity: In captivity, the Lanner can reach an age of 17 years.


Mortality: According to studies in Morocco, only 25% of all fledged juveniles reach maturity.


Threats: Threats are mostly down to human activity, which are plundering of nests, taking away eggs and chicken. In Asia young Lanner are mostly taken from nests to train them for falconry.






Bauer, Hans-Günther, Bezzel, Einhard et. al. (HG), Kompendium der Vögel Mitteleuropas, Band 1+2, Sonderausgabe 2012, Aula Verlag, Wiebelsheim

Bauer, Hans-Günther, Bezzel, Einhard et. al. (HG), Kompendium der Vögel Mitteleuropas, Band 3, Literatur und Anhang, Aula Verlag Wiebelsheim, 2. vollständig überarbeitete Auflage 1993

Bezzel, Einhard, Kompendium der Vögel Mitteleuropas, Non-Passeriformes, Band 1, AULA-Verlag Wiesbaden, 1985

Bruun/Singer/König/Der Kosmos Vogelführer, Franck'sche Verlagshandlung Stuttgart, 5. Auflage 1982

Glutz von Blotzheim, Urs et. al (HG), Handbuch der Vögel Mitteleuropas, Band 4, Falconiformes, AULA-Verlag Wiesbaden, 2. durchgesehene Auflage 1989

Mebs, Theodor (†), Schmidt, Daniel, Die Greifvögel Europas, Nordafrikas und Vorderasiens, Franck-Kosmos Verlag Stuttgart, 2. Auflage 2014

Svenson, Lars et. al, Der Kosmos Vogelführer, Franck-Kosmos Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, 2. Auflage 2011



Image Credits


Eggs of the Lanner Falcon - source: by Roger Culos - Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 4.0,