Species name: Sooty falcon
Scientific name: Falco concolor
Locally known as: Sheryas aswad
Description: This bird – which has a long tail and slim body – is a summer visitor to the islands off Abu Dhabi but it has also been known to migrate as far as Madagascar. It is particularly suited to the region, because it usually breeds in mountainous desert areas with cliffs. By late October, most Sooty falcons will have left the Arabian Gulf for their wintering grounds.
IUCN status: Near threatened
Key threats: Human disturbance, persecution and predation.
Where they’re found today: The Sooty falcon breeds from northeast Africa to eastern Arabia and winters in Madagascar and southeast Africa.
Abu Dhabi’s efforts: The sooty falcon is one of the most endangered species in Abu Dhabi, and EAD undertakes monitoring of this species to better understand its trends in numbers and what actions to take when numbers decline. Our annual assessment results reveal that the Sooty falcon has only three breeding pairs in the emirate; however, successful breeding was recorded at two nesting sites in Abu Dhabi.
- The sooty falcon is one of the first birds ever tagged by EAD.
- The species is generally silent, except when it is around the nest.
- They are high-speed flyers and catch migrant songbirds and other larger species in flight.