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

A video showing huge number of falcons – mainly Lanners (Falco biarmicus) – held in captivity in what appears to be a desert area was shared recently in a Libyan facebook group dedicated to hunting. It was shared by someone using a pseudonym and claims to be from Egypt (he is not), however the video almost without a doubt was recorded 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 and are destined to be sold 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.

A regional problem

The illegal capture of wild falcons occurs across the region not just in Libya. However, for some reasons including security, the problem is probably not as bad as in this case. Here are some examples with happy endings thanks to dedicated people who saved them:

Several tens of wild-caught Lanner Falcons held in captivity in a remote place in Libya
Wild-caught Lanner Falcons held in captivity in a remote desert place in Libya (screen capture from the video).

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. 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).

    1. 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).

  2. 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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