Latest results

Preliminary analysis of the data from the 2014 Peregrine Survey, carried out in the UK and the Isle of Man, estimates the overall number of breeding pairs at 1,505. Although this headline figure is similar to the estimate from the previous survey in 2002, the regional estimates are more divergent. Estimates for Wales, Scotland and the Isle of Man are lower than those from the previous survey, while those for Northern Ireland and England are higher. The increase in England is particularly notable, taking the number of breeding Peregrines recorded in England past the equivalent number in Scotland for the first time. There are also large differences in regional trends within countries, with Peregrine populations in predominantly lowland regions tending to be stable or increasing, while those in the majority of upland regions are decreasing. The pattern holds even within regions, an analysis carried out by the North-east Scotland Raptor Study Group (NESRSG 2015) showing that coastal and lowland Peregrines are faring much better than those in inland and upland areas.

Overall, the survey provides a strong message that Peregrines are faring better in urban and other lowland situations than in the uplands. It is likely that there are multiple reasons for this difference, and that relative importance of these reasons varies between different areas. The study by the North-east Raptor Study Group provides compelling evidence that single biggest reason for decline of upland Peregrines in this region is persecution associated with grouse moor management. In upland areas where this land use type is less prevalent, however, other factors such as food supply, bioaccumulation of toxic chemicals, and intra-guild interactions with other raptors could all be playing a role in suppressing Peregrine numbers. In lowland areas where the species is increasing, an abundant food supply (primarily Feral Pigeons, but including a bewildering variety of prey species in some urban settings) and a lack of persecution are being increasingly exploited by Peregrines breeding on man-made structures in areas where natural nest sites are few and far between.

More to do

Further analyses are required to produce the final estimates.

 Table - Provisional estimates of the UK and IoM peregrine population (numbers of breeding pairs) 2014

Area

2002

2014

% change

Wales

283

249

-12

Scotland

571

509

-11

England

470

628

+34

Isle of Man

31

23

-26

Northern Ireland

82

96

+17

Total

1437

1505

+5

Provisional estimates of the UK and IoM peregrine population (numbers of breeding pairs) 2014

North East Scotland Raptor Study Group (2015). Peregrines in North-east Scotland in 2014 - further decline in the uplands. Scottish Birds 35, 10–14.