Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni is currently listed as Vulnerable under criterion A on the IUCN Red List, because when last assessed its population was suspected of having declined by more than 30% over the last three generations. The global population declined substantially between 1950 and 1990, with recorded declines equivalent to c. 46% per decade since 1950 on its breeding grounds in south-western Europe and to c. 25% per decade since 1971 on its wintering grounds in South Africa (and possibly in parts of its Asian range, too).
Since the 1990s, however, the species’s breeding population has been stable or increased in south-western Europe, which holds around one third of its global population (BirdLife International 2004). Data collated in 2010 for a review of its EU Species Action Plan show that, while some small south-eastern European populations are still declining, the largest European population (>14,000 pairs) in Spain has increased (Iñigo & Barov 2010). Over the last three generations (17 years), therefore, the species’ total European population was probably roughly stable. Due to many successful conservation activities across its range, the species’ rate of decline has been slowed significantly, and since c. 2000 its population in Europe, Russia and Central Asia is suspected to have been stable or even slightly increasing (Galushin 2009).
Recent data from field counts of Lesser Kestrel on its wintering grounds in South Africa also indicate that the population has been stable (van Zyl 2007). This suggests that its global status ought to be revised to either Near Threatened or Least Concern, because its population appears to have stabilised and has not declined by more than 30% in the past three generations (17 years). Recent information about the population size and trends (since the mid-1990s) from elsewhere in the breeding range (especially Turkey, Central Asia and the Middle East) and wintering range (especially West and East Africa) are needed to complete this assessment. Comments on this proposal and any relevant information are welcome.
BirdLife International (2004) Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International.
Iñigo, A. and Barov, B. (2010). Action plan for the Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni in the European Union. Draft prepared by SEO/BirdLife and BirdLife International for the European Commission. http://www.birdlifeforums.org/WebX?233@@.2cba7228!enclosure=.2cba7229
Galushin, V. (2009) VII International Conference on the Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) in Almendralejo (Spain). Raptor Conservation 16: 3-4.
Van Zyl, A. (2007) Migrating Kestrel Project preliminary results for the 2005/2006 season. Gabar 18 (2): 1-8. [see also www.kestreling.com]
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