Range & Status
Holarctic; in Britain and Ireland the native population long exterminated but by mid 1960s it had become apparent that small numbers were breeding, probably originating from escaped falconer' s birds. Aided by the postwar afforestation of uplands, the population had increased to some 200 pairs by 1991 and 400 by 2000. As this bird is declining in Europe, the British population must be regarded as important in an international context, whatever its origins.
Cornwall: increasingly reported annually, but few acceptable records. However, the increasing number of definite records indicates that perhaps 13 pairs could be present in mid and east Cornwall woodlands. Isles of Scilly: a rare migrant.
Habitat & Ecology
Occurs in mixed Beech Fagus sylvatica and conifer woodland, keeping chiefly within tree cover and thus easily overlooked. Most visible in early spring during aerial display, often at great height, over breeding territories.
Human disturbance. Clear-felling of woodland.
All sites should be confidential. Siting of nest platforms has provided some success elsewhere in UK. Protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Listed (long list) as a globally threatened/declining species (BSGR, 1995).