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    SLOVAKIA --- Population status --- Nefative factors --- Threats --- Running projects  

Population status

The Saker Falcon population size in 19th Century is supposed to be within the range of 70-120 breeding pairs (Nagy & Demeter, 2006). In middle 20th century it is considered as a great rarity in Slovakia (Hell, 1958). In the second half of 20th century the population is estimated of about 5-10 pairs (Chavko, 2003). The current population size is about 33 (in 2009) (L. Deutschova). Saker Falcons occupied typical agrocoenosis in the Pannonian lowland. All of the pairs use nest boxes or artificial nests on electric pylons.

Young Sakers in an artificial nest provided by RPS.
© J. Cavko

Negative factors

In the second half of 20th century (1965-1999) 175 nests were robbed or 5 nests per year on average (Nagy & Demeter, 2006). It is considered as a casual factor for species decline during the period (Baumgart et al., 1992), though it is more likely that the major decline was caused by post-war changes in land-use and agricultural practices, with East-European falconers contributing to a reduction in the productivity of an already decimated population (Dixon, 2007).


According to European Saker Falcon Action Plan (Nagy & Demeter, 2006) two negative factors are ranked with High Importance:

  1. Conversion of grasslands into arable land (presumably related to shortage of preferable prey species, e.g. European Sousliks (RPS, 2010));
  2. Direct mortality via electrocution.

However the second problem is being solved nowadays thanks to the cooperation between RPS and the Energy Supply Companies.

An important threat at present is the bird crime – nest robberies, shooting and poisoning (L. Deutscgova).


Running project

SESN activities in Slovakia started in 2010. The project is ongoing at the moment. SESN partner is Raptor Protection of Slovakia with team led by Jozef Chavko. The project aims to:

- get a complete overview about the population of Saker Falcon in Western Slovakia through the monitoring in southwest Slovakia where it is unknown;

- create nesting opportunities for Saker Falcon in southwest Slovakia;

- create connection between Slovak and Hungarian Saker Falcon population through the nesting opportunities;

- identify the habitat conditions, feeding opportunities, natural nesting opportunities and threats in nesting, hunting and roosting areas of Saker Falcon in southwest Slovakia;

- publish the results of population trends of Saker Falcon in Western Slovakia in 2000-2010 in the Slovak Raptor Journal;

- ensure successful breeding in case of discovering a nesting Saker pair in the project area.

Young Saker Falcon.
© N. Nedyalkov
SESN is coordinated by:
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, Sofia 1113, Yurii Gagarin str. 2
www.ecolab.bas.bg; gsm +359 898 58 55 53; Fax +359 2 870 54 98; e-mail: dimitar.ragyov@gmail.com