Huge number of wild-caught falcons held in captivity (video)

By MaghrebOrnitho | 5 December 2018

A video showing huge number of falcons – mainly Lanners (Falco biarmicus) – held in captivity in what appears to be a desertic area (note the color and texture of the tent cover) was shared recently in a Libyan facebook group dedicated to hunting. The video was shared by someone using a pseudonym and claims to be from Egypt; nevertheless the video is more likely shot in Libya.

See the video to have an idea about the number of birds stuffed in there (I counted some 100 birds, but some are hardly visible). Also note that all (visible) birds have their eyelids sewn-up. This is generally done when there are no ‘falconry hoods’ available to cover the falcons head. (This was originally omitted because it was obvious in the video, but added after readers’ comments here and on FB).

The questions that can be asked by anyone with limited knowledge about falconry and hunting in general are: Were these falcons wild-caught or bred in captivity? Are they held by legitimate falconers or by illegal hunters ready to smuggle them elsewhere or sell them locally?

To experienced people, the answer is very simple. These falcons were captured from the wild by illegal hunters (poachers). As to their destination, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen to them (one thing is for sure, they will end up in the black market either locally or across the borders).

The conditions under which these falcons live are perfect for the spread of disease inside this ‘facility’ and to the wild populations. Genetic population is also a risk if the birds are from different populations or subspecies.

Illegal capture of falcons occurs across the region, but fortunately not to this extent. Here are some examples with happy endings thanks to dedicated people who saved them:

– Rare falcons rescued from poachers in Morocco (a Peregrine Falcon from Finland and a Saker Falcon).

– Peregrine Falcon rescued from poachers at Casablanca, Morocco (a male bird reintroduced to central Sweden).

Huge number of wild-caught falcons held in captivity in North Africa

Huge number of wild-caught falcons held in captivity in North Africa.

5 thoughts on “Huge number of wild-caught falcons held in captivity (video)

  1. Mr Colin Slator

    All those Lanners seem to have their eyes sown up – that’s why they are acting so quiet. This must indicate these birds are from the wild ?
    Do BirdLife International have a presence in Libya?

    1. MaghrebOrnitho Post author

      Thanks Colin for your comment.

      The falcons’ eyelids are sewn-up when there are no hoods to cover their heads. This can only mean that the birds were captured or purchased/gathered recently. However, this is not the only indication that the birds are from the wild. Many hunters and falconers from Libya strongly condemned the act and labelled it as ‘illegal capture’, ‘extermination of the wild population’…etc. Also, the video was studied by a specialist before deciding to post it here.

      No, BirdLife International has no partner in Libya. Though, they have official partners in two neighbouring countries: Tunisia (Association ‘Les Amis des Oiseaux’) and Egypt (Nature Conservation Egypt).

  2. Nick Moss

    These seem all to be Lanners. I can’t see any other species. Horrific.

    1. MaghrebOrnitho Post author

      Thanks Nick! They are indeed all Lanner Falcons. Because some are not visible, there could be a bird or two from other falcons in the back (such as Barbary Falcon or Northern Peregrine).
      Horrific both for the captured birds (stress, disease,….) and for the population as well (sure this unchecked capture and trade will take its toll on the Lanner breeding population).

  3. Robert Booth

    Do the same to the captors but include rectums then feed them a massive dose of prunes followed by vindaloo and senna pods


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