The rainy season is picking up, and when it does, lots of new bird species will be coming our way!


At this time last year, I met my first pair of Lanner Falcons.


At first, they were just two big silhouettes in a tree,


…but as I was coming on horseback, they allowed me to approach and stayed long enough for me to approach and take a few pictures.


Eventually, one of the two took off, and the other one followed, but they did not go far. Sheba and I just followed them to the next tree.


Jochen of Bell Tower Birding helped me identify the two beauties, saying they were young Lanner Falcons [Falco biarmicus]:

The Lanner is one of roughly a handful of “large falcons” occuring in Africa, and all “large falcon” species are thinly distributed. The Lanner is probably the one of the lot which is the most common in Africa, but that doesn’t mean it is seen very often. From my experiences in southern Africa (and it might be a different situation in Niger), you’d likely see between 5 and 10 during a 3 to 4 weeks long birding trip to areas with good habitat (national parks, mountain ranges etc.), much less if you’re not particularly searching for birds or falcons in particular. So the birds are a good find, and as they might be breeding in the vicinity and may be found quite reliably, a visiting bird watcher or anyone interested in animals/nature would surely be very pleased to see them. I like Lanners a lot. They are very powerful and swift birds that have so much elegance. If yours weren’t quite as convincing, keep in mind that they were young birds, merely a couple of months old, and surely still a bit clumsy in the air.  :-)


For me, it was the first time I noticed this beautiful bird,


…but it was not to be the last.


I stayed until they flew away, and then Sheba and I continued on our path.

For more birds around the world,
visit World Bird Wednesday!