Environment Society of Oman – Project Sooty Falcon

To survey the sooty falcon population nesting on the islands of the Gulf of Oman and along the coast, to establish a long-term monitoring program and to use the data collected in Oman to understand the conservation status and ecology of sooty falcon. 
  date 2007 – Ongoing
  location Daymaniyat Islands, Fahal Island, Sawadi Islands, coast and islands of Musandam and other coastal sites of north Oman.

Oman is a stronghold for breeding sooty falcons world-wide.  Perhaps as much as 4% of the global population occurs on Fahal Island alone.  Oman also leads the world in research on sooty falcons, with the first surveys being done in 1978.  In recent years an annual effort has begun to study population dynamics and the ecology of sooty falcons.


The Sooty Falcon is a migratory, medium-sized falcon that breeds almost exclusively in north-eastern Africa and Arabia.  It winters in Madagascar.  It is unusual in that it breeds in the height of summer so that it might feed its nestlings on birds migrating to Africa in autumn.  It can breed at very high densities on islands of the Arabian or Red Seas.  In recent years population estimates of sooty falcons have been reduced by 40-fold, and its conservation status is now “Vulnerable”.


Lack of information on this species from across its range undermines our ability to conserve it.  Oman holds enough breeding sooty falcons to allow meaning breeding-ground studies to be undertaken. Understanding gained from these studies will underpin science based conservation efforts.


The first survey of Oman’s Sooty Falcon was conducted in 1978 (Walter 1979) and since 2007, we have established the distribution of the falcon, located and marked nest sites and collected data on reproductive success and diet.  The data sugges about a 15% decline in the Omani population since 1978, and the main cause of this decline is thought to be human disturbance.


Full survey of the Omani population to determine size, geographical extent and reproductive success
Tag falcons with microchip rings; collect blood, feathers and unhatched egg for DNA analysis
Establish regular monitoring of the Omani sooty falcon populations by Omani institutions
Undertake innovative new research to provide information to underpin conservation efforts world-wide
Provide training opportunities for Oman government employees and SQU students
In order to achieve its aims, ESO is working in collaboration with MECA, as well as scientists and conservationists from international organisations


  how you
can help
Arranging logistics for field trips
Fundraising for the exhibition to include printing of photographs and setting up professional photomontage
Design and printing of leaflets and posters
Design and printing of T-shirts / baseball caps / other merchandising


This piece is taken from the website of the Environment Society of Oman.

See on-line at: http://www.environment.org.om/index/list3.php?categoryId=628&Extension=gif


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