The retrospective analysis and current status of the saker falcon (Falco cherrug) in Daghestan
Literature data for the last 134 years, personal observations of the author (1995–2013), and data of inquiries of local people and game managers regarding the occurrence of the saker falcon in Daghestan are summarized. It is revealed that within the territory of the region the saker falcon occupies not only planes and foothills but also intramountain and high mountain areas to the altitude of 2000–2700 m above sea level. The species breeding group constitutes at least 13–15 pairs. In autumn up to 25–30 individuals of the species migrate across the territory of the republic. During migrations, the Saker Falcon flies not only along the foothills and the coast of the Caspian Sea (the foothill-seaside migrating group) but also crosses mountains of the East Caucasus (the Transcaucasian migrating group). The wintering species irregularly met, usually in warm winters. The continuing depression in the abundance of the Daghestanian Saker Falcon population is connected with a combined impact of several factors: transformation of natural habitats, decrease in abundance of rodents, increase of bird disturbance on nesting, and direct illegal bird catching. Deterioration of habitats of the saker falcon in the plain Daghestan causes its redistribution to foothills and mountains. This redistribution is promoted by restoration of forests and their components (including aviafauna) due to the construction of natural gas network in mountain regions. Rehabilitation of natural communities of mountain ecosystems can lead to stabilization of the Dagestanian population of the saker falcon. Refs 38. Figs 1.
saker falcon, Daghestan, migration, breeding number
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