Leafing through Nel Mondo degli Animali, an encyclopedia edited by Federico Motta Editore, we find a fantastic description of the Lanner falcon. It’s defined as possibly the most beautiful and elegant of falcons, and its great value to falconry is immediately presented.

The morphologic description is given together with that of the Saker falcon, a congeneric species with which it shares a close resemblance. After going over the reproductive habits, we read about nidification and optimal habitat. The Lanner falcon is unmistakeably adapted to cliffs in arid areas, with little vegetation. Eggs are laid in rocky crevices, hostile to the human eye but essential for this raptor.

In the last decades, the steadily decreasing availability of such places has made a big dent in the breeding population of Italy (we talk about this in depth here). This fact is sadly well-known to today’s ornithologists and enthusiasts, but it’s remarkable to find the same issue mentioned in this encyclopedia already in the Sixties. Nel Mondo degli Animali, in fact, describes the Lanner as common in southern Europe and, although less frequent than other falcon species, fairly common in Italy. The entire species is then defined as declining.

We thank Federico Motta Editore for their availability, and share with you the pages of the encyclopedia dedicated to our beloved falcon. The work is not available for purchase anymore, but this 1966 edition offers a valuable portrait of the environmental state of our nation sixty years ago. Click on the image title to open a larger version in a new tab.