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Hellenic Ornithological Society, photo: E.Eissing
Life Project: Conservation Measures for Falco eleonorae in Greece

SUMMARY OF THE PROJECT

Beneficiary: Hellenic Ornithological Society
Duration: 1 March 2003 - 31 October 2007

Objective

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.

Sites

The sites are:

Region Name of Protected Area NATURA 2000 Codes
N. SPORADES ETHNIKO THALASSIO PARKO ALONNISOU - VOREION SPORADON, ANATOLIKI SKOPELOS GR1430004 (SCI)
NISIA KYRA PANAGIA, PIPERI, PSATHOURA KAI GYRO NISIDES AGIOS GEORGIOS, NISOI ADELFOI, LECHOUSA, GAIDOURONISIA GR1430005 (SPA)
NAXOS NISOS IRAKLIA, NISOI MAKARES, MIKROS KAI MEGALOS AVELAS, NISIDA VENETIKO IRAKLIAS GR4220021 (SPA)
FOURNOI IKARIA - FOURNOI KAI PARAKTIA ZONI GR4120004 (SCI)
NISOS FOURNOI KAI NISIDES THIMAINA, ALATSONISI, THIMAINAKI, STRONGYLO, PLAKA, MAKRONISI, MIKROS KAI MEGALOS ANTHROPOFAGOS, AGIOS MINAS GR4120006 (SPA)
ARKIOI, LEIPSOI ARKOI, LEIPSOI, AGATHONISI KAI VRACHONISIDES GR4210010 (SCI)
NISOS LEIPSOI (DYTIKO TMIMA) & NISIDES: FRAGKOS, MAKRONISI, PILAFI, KAPARI, KALAPODIA, MEGALO ASPRONISI, MAKRY ASPONISI, KOYLOYRA, NOTIA ASPRA,SARAKINA, PIATO, PSOMOS, STAVRI, LIRA, ARETHOYSA, MANOLI GR4210016 (SPA)
KINAROS, LEVITHA VOREIA AMORGOS KAI KYNAROS, LEVITHA, MAVRIA, GLAROS KAI THALASSIA ZONI GR4220012 (SCI)
NISOI KINAROS KAI LEVITHA KAI NISIDES LIADA, PLAKA, GLAROS, MAVRIA GR4210020 (SPA)
KALYMNOS NISIDES KALYMNOU: EPANO, NERA, SARI, TELENDOS GR4210019 (SPA)
DIONYSADES ISLETS DIONYSADES NISOI GR4320011 (SPA)
DIA ISLET NISOS DIA GR4310003 (SCI and SPA)
GRAMVOUSA IMERI KAI AGRIA GRAMVOUSA - TIGANI KAI FALASARNA - PONTIKONISI, ORMOS LIVADIA-VIGLIA GR4340001 (SCI)
XERSONISOS GRAMVOUSAS KAI NISIDES IMERI KAI AGRIA GRAMVOUSA, PONTIKONISI GR4340017 (SPA)
ANTIKYTHIRA ANTIKYTHIRA - PRASSONISI KAI LAGOUVARDO GR3000008 (SCI)
NISOS ANTIKYTHIRA KAI NISIDES PRASSONISI, LAGOUVARDOS, PLAKOULITHRA KAI NISIDES THIMONIES GR3000012 (SPA)

Main Threats

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

  1. Establishment of a Falco eleonorae network across Mediterranean countries and assessment of the world species population status.
  2. Establishment of a European clearing-house mechanism for the species in Greece.
  3. Implementation of the first complete world population census, which will provide baseline information for the species population and conservation status.
  4. 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.
  5. Formulation and implementation of an effective monitoring scheme for the species, covering the largest part of the Greek population, in 10 Greek SPA sites.
  6. Enhancement of breeding habitat quality and species breeding output, in key colonies, through pilot management measures.
  7. Assessment of primary causes of mortality for the species, such as agrochemical pollution in the foraging grounds.
  8. Implementation of an extensive and well focused public awareness campaign targeting various key social groups, for the conservation of Falco eleonorae in Greece.

Expected results

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.

Satellite telemetry of Eleonora\’s Falcon migration

Photo gallery of Eleonora's falcon

PROJECT LIFE-NATURE 2003
Conservation Measures for Falco eleonorae in Greece (LIFE 03NAT/GR/000091)
Life Hellenic Ornithological Society Natural History Museum of Crete RSPB Ministry of Rural Development and Food
The European Commission
Directorate-General Environment

 
Hellenic Ornithological Society   Natural History Museum of Crete
University of Crete

 
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
 
Ministry of Rural Development and Food
 
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