Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (extent of occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The global population is estimated to number > c.1,000,000 individuals (Ferguson-Lees et al. 2001), while national population estimates include: c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration in China; c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and < c.50 individuals on migration in Korea; < c.50 individuals on migration in Japan and c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009). A national census in South Africa recorded 111,291 individuals in 2009 (Symes and Woodborne 2010), which led to a global population estimate of 300,000-500,000 individuals (A. van Zyl, cited in Global Raptor Information Network 2015). This suggests that either a large proportion of the population overwinters further north or that the global population size is considerably smaller than the maximum estimate of 1,000,000 individuals (Symes and Woodborne 2010). It is placed in the band 300,000-1,000,000 individuals, roughly equating to 200,000-667,000 mature individuals.
The population is suspected to historically have undergone rapid declines due to persecution along its migration route. However, thanks to a successful community outreach project in Nagaland, India, there have been no reports of hunting in the area since 2013. The population is now suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.
The species is vulnerable to degradation of grassland habitats by agriculture and afforestation in its African range (Global Raptor Information Network 2015). Historically, the species suffered extremely high levels of persecution along its migration route, with an estimated 120,000-140,000 individuals trapped every year at a key migratory stopover site in Nagaland, India (Conservation India 2012). However, following an international response and effective conservation action, no hunting is thought to have occurred in the area since 2013 (Lawrence 2013). Open cast mining in South Africa threatens the species's grassland habitats (Symes and Woodborne 2010). Grazing in the Mongolian drylands is thought to reduce recruitment of Siberian elm Ulmus pumila, the stands of which are used as breeding and sheltering sites by the species (Wesche et al. 2011).
Conservation actions underway
CITES Appendix II, CMS Appendix II, Raptors MOU Category 3. Following reports of mass killing of this species in Nagaland, India, in 2012, BirdLife International launched an international appeal, raising funds to support a long-term community outreach project. An innovative PR campaign - "Friends of the Amur Falcon" - was developed to galvanise community action and build awareness of the importance of conserving the species. Local people were employed to patrol the Doyang area and to start eco-clubs through churches, schools and other local groups. This approach proved hugely successful, with many former hunters becoming guardians of the falcons, and there have been no reports of falcon hunting in the area since 2013.
Conservation actions needed
Continue community outreach projects in areas along migration routes where persecution takes place. Monitor population numbers during migration.
Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Harding, M., Butchart, S. & Ekstrom, J.
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Falco amurensis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/05/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/05/2022.