A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Eleonora's Falcons

The eleonora's falcon has an unusual and interesting life. The latin name, Falco eleonorae also has an interesting history. Falco is derived from the latin word falcis meaning sickle and refers to the shape of its claws. Eleonor of Arborea is the national heroine of Sardinia, and was born in 1347 and became Queen of Arborea until her death in 1404. She was a great and progressive legislator and as an ornithologist passed a law that protected Eleonora's falcons from persecution. ​The falcons migrate from Madagascar where they spend the winter and follow the migration routes of smaller birds which provide them with a constant source of prey. Eleonora's falcons breed in the Autumn to take advantage of the return of these small birds to feed their young. The nearby island of Tilos accounts for 10% of the world's population so it was a great privilege to watch a falcon yesterday from the Olive Tree cafe on Symi chasing an alpine swift within a few hundred yards of our table. No pics, I'm afraid but I have a stock photo from last year.

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