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2018, vol. 68, iss. 1-2, pp. 67-75
The peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus (Tunstall, 1771) in Serbia
Paraćin

emailgrubacbratislav@gmail.com
Keywords: Peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus; Serbia; distribution; population; trend; ecology; threats
Abstract
This paper presents an overview of summarized data on the distribution, population, trend, ecology (habitat, feeding and breeding) and threats to the peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus (Tunstall, 1771) in Serbia, with special reference to the recent period. Peregrine falcon is in general widely distributed sedentary bird, the habitat of which ranges from lowlands to high-mountainous areas at the approximate altitudes of 85 to 2500 m. Current, rather reduced breeding population from the period between 2014 and 2018, mostly occurs in the eastern, and much less in the southeastern, western, central and southern parts of the country. According to data for the period 1977-1997, one rather small population was breeding in the mountainous regions of Kosovo and Metohija. There is no reliable evidence of this species breeding in Vojvodina. In the distant past, the period from late 19th century to the 1970s, this species was very rare in Serbia. In the period 1977-1997, as well at the beginning of 21st century, the population increased from approximately 40-60 to 65-90 pairs. The current population exhibited a marked decline with the estimated 30-50 breeding pairs in the period 2014-2018. The peregrine falcon mostly breeds on the cliffs in rocky and hilly-mountainous areas up to 1.700 m of altitude. It mainly feeds on pigeons and doves, mostly Columba livia f. domestica, C. livia, C. palumbus, Streptopelia turtur and S. decaocto, as well as thrushes Turdus spp., common starlings Sturnus vulgaris, crows and many other birds. Peregrine falcon usually lays eggs from the second half of March to early April, while the young start leaving the nest from late May to mid-June. Breeding success is on average 2.3 young (varies between 1 and 4) per successful nesting (N = 53), whereas productivity is 1.9 young per pair (N = 64). Illegal killing of the peregrine falcons by pigeon breeders and hunters represents a major threat and a cause of 94 % mortality of the species, thus being a major problem of this species' conservation in Serbia.
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