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The Lanner falcon (revised edition 2017)

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  • Hierofalcon Research Group

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This paper reports the status of Falco biarmicus feldeggii in Italy, with an estimated population of more than 150 pairs, 2/3 of which in Sicily. Many data are reported on the biology, ecology, breeding cycle and feeding habits. In addition some information are reported on the presence of Falco biarmicus erlangeri in Sicily, as accidental visitor.
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The falcon is the most frequently represented bird in Egyptian art. The discovery that falcons were depicted more often than realized in Aegean art, during the author’s studies of Aegean faunal iconography, prompted this article which delves into their natural history as a way to understand the falcon gods of Egypt as well as Egyptian and Aegean falcon depictions. This study found that in both cultures the traits of the depicted falcons center around the Peregrine (Falco peregrinus) and Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus ) with some Lanner (Falco biarmicus) head traits. The black malar facial stripe, hooked beak, and tomial ‘tooth’ of falcons characterize all Egyptian falcon depictions. In ancient Egypt the falcon was revered and it appears to hold a special place in Egyptian iconography with everyday images of falcon species not being present.
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Shakespeare's plays contain a rich abundance of metaphors, similes and phrases relating to animals and the natural world, much of which can seem obscure to us today. First published in 1883, Emma Phipson's classic study sets in context the animal lore of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries to show how it affected the literature of the time. Drawing on a collection of compelling sources, this book explores the beliefs about natural science that influenced the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Phipson considers obscure writings by naturalists and antiquarians on a wide range of animals from the familiar to the exotic, and from the real to the mythical. Whether discussing hedgehogs or unicorns, the text shows how the Elizabethans' understanding of animals was coloured by hunting, travel, folklore and the Bible, and how this had a lasting impact upon language and culture.
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French zoologist and naturalist Georges Cuvier (1769–1832), one of the most eminent scientific figures of the early nineteenth century, is best known for laying the foundations of comparative anatomy and palaeontology. He spent his lifetime studying the anatomy of animals, and broke new ground by comparing living and fossil specimens - many he uncovered himself. However, Cuvier always opposed evolutionary theories and was during his day the foremost proponent of catastrophism, a doctrine contending that geological changes were caused by sudden cataclysms. He received universal acclaim when he published his monumental Le règne animal, which made significant advances over the Linnaean taxonomic system of classification and arranged animals into four large groups. The sixteen-volume English translation and expansion, The Animal Kingdom (1827–35), is also reissued in the Cambridge Library Collection. First published in 1817, Volume 3 of the original version covers molluscs, arachnids and insects.
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The predation pressure upon nine breeding colonies of Red-billed Quelea (Quelea q. quelea) has been estimated in September 1973 in Eastern Mali, Western Africa. Large numbers of predatory birds (Kites, Hawks, Ruzzards, Eagles, Falcons, Storks, Herons, Ibises, Hornbills, Crows, etc.) were found to feed upon young queleas : up to 763 predators in a colony of 28,000 nests. Details are given on feeding techniques, food preferences and average daily consumption of the most important predators. In this particular case, 32 % of the nests were destroyed between laying and hatching times. Furthermore 25 % of the nestlings appear to have been subsequently destroyed by predators. On the whole, each adult breeding pair did not produce more than 1,7 fledglings. The causes of this unusually high mortality rate are discussed.
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— Ornithological report 2001-2006 for the Camargue. – The present ornithological report for the Camargue covers six years (2001-2006). This time-period has been marked by an accelerated global warming (the summer 2003 was particularly extreme). Owing to a constant high observation pressure, 18 new species have been recorded and many rare species have been resighted in that region (Camargue, Crau, Alpilles). Among the species or group of species which are regularly censused, the number of breeding Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus and that of wintering ducks and coots did not show any significant change. The colonial herons have continued either to increase or to fluctuate at a high level. For example, the Great White Egret Casmerodius albus has definitely settled in the delta and the Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides has reached a new peak of 505 pairs in 2006. More efficient prospection efforts gave more precise breeding numbers for two species of solitary herons, the Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris and the Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus. New breeding species such as the Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, White Stork Ciconia ciconia, Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia and Greylag Anser anser increased their numbers as well as the Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus of which 14 pairs has bred in 2006 and the Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio which was found for the first time breeding in 2006. The breeding species showing the most serious concern are actually the breeding gulls and terns whose figures have dramatically decreased. Without human management, this situation will even become worse in a near future. Further remarkable observations were the first case of wintering Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina in 2001/ 2002, a mixed pair of Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni x Collared Pratincole G. pratincola in 2001, the settling of the Rook Corvus frugilegus in Arles.