Falco rusticolus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Falconiformes Falconidae

Scientific Name: Falco rusticolus
Species Authority: Linnaeus, 1758
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Gyrfalcon, Gyr Falcon
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2012-05-03
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S. & Ashpole, J
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (extent of occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2012 Least Concern (LC)
2009 Least Concern (LC)
2008 Least Concern (LC)
2004 Least Concern (LC)
2000 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1994 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1988 Near Threatened (NT)

Geographic Range [top]

Countries occurrence:
Canada; China; Finland; France; Greenland; Iceland; Japan; Mexico; Norway; Russian Federation; Sweden; United States
Austria; Belgium; Bermuda; Brazil; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Germany; Ireland; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Netherlands; Pakistan; Poland; Portugal; Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Spain; Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Switzerland; Ukraine; United Kingdom
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 8620000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1400
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population is estimated to number c.70,000 individuals which equates to 46,700 mature individuals (Partners in Flight Science Committee 2013). The European population is estimated at 1,100-1,900 pairs, which equates to 2,200-3,900 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms approximately 13% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 16,900-30,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. It is placed in the band 20,000-49,999 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  The overall trend is likely to be stable. This species has undergone a large and statistically significant increase over the last 40 years in North America (311% increase over 40 years, equating to a 42.4% increase per decade; data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007). Note, however, that these surveys cover less than 50% of the species's range in North America. In Europe the population trend size is estimated to be stable (BirdLife International 2015). The Russian population trend is also thought to be relatively stable (Russia constitutes approximately 37% of the species's total range) (Potapov 2011).
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 20000-49999 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is threatened by the collection of eggs and young for the falconry market (Tucker and Heath 1994) with an unknown number collected each year within Europe (White et al. 2013). Some 1,000-2,000 birds are thought to be killed annually by trappers in Siberia (White et al. 2013). Illegal shooting also occurs in some areas such as Norway and Sweden. In parts of Fennoscandia, intensive hunting of grouse (Tucker and Heath 1994), such as Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) and Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus) may affect numbers of this species. In the past, Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus) trapping was the main threat in Russia (Potapov 2011). Disturbance of nests through tourism is also a problem (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997). The species is also threatened by climate change (Booms et al. 2011). It was not affected by organochlorines in the 1960s and 1970s (White et al. 2013), however it was found to contain very high levels of organochlorines which probably derive from marine prey (Ólafsdóttir et al. 2001).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Falco rusticolus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22696500A80463760. . Downloaded on 27 November 2015.
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