The project aimed to co-ordinate and implement high priority actions for Falco eleonorae, (Eleonora's falcon) as described in the species' E.U Action Plan, for the effective, long-term conservation of the species in Greece. Up to the implementation of the current project, it was considered that approximately 90% of its global population breeds within the EU and >70% in Greece. Now, it has been established that almost 84% of the global population breeds within the Greek archipelago. Thus, Falco eleonorae is by far, the most important bird species hosted in the country.
The Hellenic Ornithological Society, the BirdLife partner in Greece, in collaboration with the Natural History Museum of Crete, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (BirdLife partner - UK), and the Ministry of Rural Development and Food are aiming to promote the species' conservation, by implementing actions in the 10 most important SPAs (Special Protection Areas) for the species in Greece.
The sites are:
Name of Protected Area
NATURA 2000 Codes
ETHNIKO THALASSIO PARKO ALONNISOU - VOREION SPORADON, ANATOLIKI SKOPELOS
VOREIA AMORGOS KAI KYNAROS, LEVITHA, MAVRIA, GLAROS KAI THALASSIA ZONI
NISOI KINAROS KAI LEVITHA KAI NISIDES LIADA, PLAKA, GLAROS, MAVRIA
NISIDES KALYMNOU: EPANO, NERA, SARI, TELENDOS
GR4310003 (SCI and SPA)
IMERI KAI AGRIA GRAMVOUSA - TIGANI KAI FALASARNA - PONTIKONISI, ORMOS LIVADIA-VIGLIA
XERSONISOS GRAMVOUSAS KAI NISIDES IMERI KAI AGRIA GRAMVOUSA, PONTIKONISI
ANTIKYTHIRA - PRASSONISI KAI LAGOUVARDO
NISOS ANTIKYTHIRA KAI NISIDES PRASSONISI, LAGOUVARDOS, PLAKOULITHRA KAI NISIDES THIMONIES
Falco eleonorae faces a number of serious threats that must be addressed and tackled in order to ensure the species' long-term protection. The most serious threats concerning its breeding, feeding and roosting habitats, as well as the species itself are the following:
Insufficient knowledge on the species population status resulting in the lack of co-ordinated species oriented conservation actions.
Lack of co-ordination among competent authorities for SPA protection in Greece
Human disturbance on breeding colonies
Habitat degradation and agrochemical bio-accumulation in the species tissues.
Reduced breeding success due to predation
Low level of public awareness for the species conservation
Most of the above-mentioned threats were addressed through the actions of the project.
Actions and means involved
Establishment of a Falco eleonorae network across Mediterranean countries and assessment of the world species population status.
Establishment of a European clearing-house mechanism for the species in Greece.
Implementation of the first complete world population census, which will provide baseline information for the species population and conservation status.
To minimise human disturbance in falcon colonies by developing a wardening plan for the co-ordination of the competent public authorities in wardening of the Greek SPA sites, hosting eleonora's falcon colonies, and by implementing project specific wardening schemes in the most threatened sites.
Formulation and implementation of an effective monitoring scheme for the species, covering the largest part of the Greek population, in 10 Greek SPA sites.
Enhancement of breeding habitat quality and species breeding output, in key colonies, through pilot management measures.
Assessment of primary causes of mortality for the species, such as agrochemical pollution in the foraging grounds.
Implementation of an extensive and well focused public awareness campaign targeting various key social groups, for the conservation of Falco eleonorae in Greece.
An overall improvement of the species conservation status in Greece, as well as in other Mediterranean countries (which hold the remaining global population), by increasing and upgrading the current knowledge basis for Falco eleonorae.
Improvement of the conservation capabilities for the species conservation worldwide, through the establishment of a Falco eleonorae Network(FEN) and clearing - house mechanism. A significant improvement in the conservation status of the 10 of the most important Greek SPA sites, hosting more than 30% of the species global population.
'This site is part of the European Natura 2000 Network. It has been designated because it hosts some of Europe's most threatened species and habitats. All 25 countries of the EU are working together through the Natura 2000 network to safeguard Europe's rich and diverse natural heritage for the benefit of all'.