Scientific Journal of the BirdLife Hungary

A Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület tudományos folyóirata

Ornis Hungarica. vol.26(2). (2018) p.2-11.

Review of the development of the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) population in Hungary between 1997 and 2018
Mátyás Prommer & János Bagyura

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Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) populations recovered globally after a dramatic decline experienced between the 1950s and 1980s. The conservation challenge forced the raptor biologist community to co-operate internationally. As a part of the co-operation, four conferences were organised to identify the problem, coordinate conservation efforts including research and to monitor the recovery process of the species’ populations worldwide. The line of conferences started in Madison (WI, USA) in 1965 and was followed by two conferences in Sacramento (CA, USA) and Piotrowo/Poznań (Poland) in 1985 and in 2007, respectively. The latest conference was organised in 2017, in Budapest, where Peregrine experts discussed the latest research and monitoring results. The event provides a good occasion to review the development of the Peregrine population in Hungary. The species became extinct in Hungary as a breeding species in the mid-1960s due to the intensive use of pesticides (DDT) and it returned only in 1997, when the first successful breeding was recorded. In 2018, 72 active eyries were recorded. The Hungarian population is the edge of the Carpathian Peregrine population and the birds represent mostly the nominate subspecies (F. p. peregrinus), but individuals showing typical phenotype of the Mediterranean subspecies (F. p. brookei) were also observed. The northern race of F. p. calidus also occurs on migration and in winter. The Hungarian population is sedentary. Natal dispersal of females is biased to males, but in case of both sexes most ring recoveries of adult birds occurred within the Pannonian basin. The increasing Peregrine population expanding to the lowland may cause conservation conflict on medium term by competing with the endangered Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) for the nest sites. The conservation status of the Peregrine Falcon in Hungary is good in general, but threats may emerge on local scale in some regions. No specific conservation measures are taken, research and monitoring focus on population changes and threats posed on and caused by Peregrines.