Current numbers of rare species of birds of prey in Ukraine

April 21st, 2010 Posted in Fauna, Reviews
Estimation of rare species numbers is one of the most burning issues in the bird conservation strategy. Information given in the recent new edition of the Red Book of Ukraine (2009) allows comparing the data on birds of prey to those, published previously.

Below there are data on the size of breeding populations of Falconiformes and Strigiformes of Ukraine (table). If have a look, they prove that numbers of many raptors go on declining. Compared to the previous one (Red Data Book of Ukraine, 1994) the new edition (Red Data Book of Ukraine, 2009) additionally added two species of Falconiformes and Owls. Numbers of eight species don’t exceed several dozens of pairs. Two species (Red Kite и Pallid Harrier) stopped breeding in Ukraine, another two (Osprey и Lesser Kestrel), are also obviously extinct.
For the last 15 years increase of numbers was noted for 6 species of Falconiformes, while 5 species have decreased, and 5 have a stable population; as for the other, their trend isn’t possible to estimate since they stopped breeding or breed only in few quantity.
Quite a great reduction of numbers has been recorded for the Black Kite, Montagu’s Harrier, Spotted Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawk и Lesser Kestrel. Increased numbers have the Long-legged Buzzard, Imperial Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Saker и Peregrine Falcons. Stable, with small fluctuations, are populations of the Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Golden Eagle, Black Vulture и Griffon Vulture.
As for Owls, growth of numbers was registered for the Eagle Owl, Ural Owl and Great Grey Owl. Trends of other Strigiformes are hard to estimate reliably because these birds are poor studied.

However, if have a look at the data in the Table, our attention immediately be drawn with substantial differences in assessment of numbers of some species. In most cases the reason lies in more intensive researches which allowed to receive new data, giving in the result an impression of “increased” numbers. It refers to the Montagu’s Harrier, Short-toed Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Black Vulture, Griffon Vulture иEagle Owl.


Numbers of rare birds of prey species in Ukraine
Species Red Data Book of Ukraine (1994) BirdLife International (2004) Red Data Book of Ukraine (2009)
(Pandion haliaetus)
4-5 pairs 0-2 pairs 1-2 pairs
Red Kite
(Milvus milvus)
Very rare 0 0
Black Kite
(M. migrans)
1500-1800 pairs 1000 pairs
Hen Harrier
(Cyrcus cyaneus)
several pairs 10-25 pairs 10-20 pairs
Montagu’s Harrier
(C. pygargus)
1500-2400 2000-3000
Pallid Harrier
(C. macrourus)
0-1 pairs 0 0
Levant Sparrowhawk
(Accipiter brevipes)
Approx. 50 pairs 30-45 pairs <40-50 pairs
Long-legged Buzzard
(Buteo rufinus)
2-8 pairs 50-150 pairs >250 pairs
Short-toed Eagle
(Circaetus gallicus)
Rare 160-300 pairs 250-300 pairs
Booted Eagle
(Hieraaetus pennatus)
450-500 pairs 240-380 pairs 450-500 pairs
Большой подорлик
(Aquila clanga)
100-150 pairs 30-45 pairs 10-20 pairs
Spotted Eagle
(Aquila pomarina)
Scanty 500-1000 pairs 500-1000 – 1200-1500 pairs
Imperial Eagle
(Aquila heliaca)
Approx. 50 pairs 45-75 pairs >100 pairs
Golden Eagle
(Aquila chrysaetos)
6-7 pairs 3-5 pairs 10-15 pairs
White-tailed Eagle
(Haliaeetus albicilla)
30-35 (possibly, up to 50) pairs 80-100 pairs 100-120 pairs
Black Vulture
(Aegypius monachus)
4-5 pairs, approx. 30 ind. 2-3 pairs 5-11 pairs, approx. 50 ind.
Griffon Vulture
(Gyps fulvus)
70 ind. 8-10 pairs 10-16 pairs, 80-100 ind.
Saker Falcon
(Falco cherrug)
Approx. 150 pairs 45-80 pairs 250-300 pairs
Peregrine Falcon
(F. peregrinus)
15-20 pairs 10-50 pairs 120-130 pairs
Lesser Kestrel
(F. naumanni)
Approx. 100 pairs 5-10 pairs 0-1 (?)
Eagle Owl
(Bubo bubo)
Approx. 50 pairs 150-200 pairs 200 pairs
Short-eared Owl
(Asio flammenus)
850-1700 pairs 850-1700 pairs
Scops Owl
(Otus scops)
4200-4700 pairs 2000-4000 pairs
Tengmalm’s Owl
(Aegolius funereus)
Rare 150-350 pairs Rare
Pygmy Owl
(Glaucidium paserinum)
? 150-350 pairs 150-350 pairs
Ural Owl
(Strix uralensis)
? 400-900 pairs 1000 ос.
Great Grey Owl
(Strix nebulosa)
3-4 pairs 15-100 pairs 20-35 pairs
(Tyto alba)
Low numbers 5-10 pairs Up to 30 pairs

1. Red Data Book of Ukraine. Animal World. Edited by M.M.Shcherbak. Kyiv: Ukrainska Entsiklopedia, 1994. – 464 p. [in Ukrainian]

2. Red Data Book of Ukraine. Animal World. Edited by I.A.Akimov. Kyiv: “Globalkinsalting”, 2009. – 600 p. [in Ukrainian]

3. BirdLife International. Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status. – Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International, 2004. – 374 pp. (BirdLife Conservation Series No. 12).

Maxim Gavrilyuk

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