Soaring Birds and Landscapes
Soaring migratory birds – such as large birds of prey - glide between areas of rising hot air to aid their long-distance passage. This method, which cannot be used over large water bodies or high mountains, limits their potential routes and concentrates birds into corridors and through tight ‘bottlenecks’. This concentration makes soaring migrants highly vulnerable to localised threats.
Many parts of the flyway are undergoing a period of rapid development, creating hazards where no threats occurred previously. At migration bottlenecks, many soaring birds die as a result of collisions with man-made structures such as power lines and wind farms. Soaring birds are also directly threatened by hunting, particularly in the Mediterranean region.
At least 51% of migratory raptor species in the African-Eurasian flyway are Globally Threatened, Near Threatened or declining. Roadside counts in West Africa indicate that populations of many migrant raptors - like Lesser Kestrel - have declined steeply over the past 30 years. Furthermore, an estimated 69% of soaring birds which glide through the Rift Valley and Red Sea areas have an unfavourable conservation status.
BirdLife has for many decades championed the protection of birds of prey from illegal and indiscriminate hunting, and advocated the full implementation of European Union laws. Campaigns have highlighted this issue at bottleneck sites in the Mediterranean, and these site are now much safer places for migratory birds. More…
Action plans have been prepared for a number of soaring birds which use the African-Eurasian flyway – such as Northern Bald Ibis and Lesser Kestrel - and these are being widely implemented by BirdLife Partners in collaboration with governments. More…
Migratory Soaring Birds project
Following our success reducing illegal hunting in the Mediterranean, BirdLife has recently launched a new ‘Migratory Soaring Birds’ project to tackle wider threats to soaring birds in the Middle East and Africa. More…
The nature of the threats to soaring birds and their pattern of migration, means that their conservation can only be achieved by considering land-use beyond the boundaries of protected areas and by involving sectors other than conservation in implementation.
Reducing Threats at Source
BirdLife’s Migratory Soaring Birds project will ensure conservation is incorporated into the production sectors where the threats originate – primarily energy, agriculture, waste management, development and tourism. To remove the threats, BirdLife will engage these sectors in meaningful conservation action, with conservation and biodiversity integrated with, rather than distinct from, the rest of the economy.
The work will build on the recently signed CMS African - Eurasian Memorandum of Understanding on Birds of Prey. More...
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