Population status

(Falco rusticolus)

Since Gyrfalcons breed only in remote Arctic and subarctic habitats, this species is not covered by the Breeding Bird Survey. The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) provides the only source of national, long-term information for the species, though it only covers the southern part of the species' wintering range in Canada. CBC results suggest that wintering populations of the Gyrfalcon have shown a moderate increase since about 1970, with a notable peak in abundance from the early 1990s to the mid-2000s (see Canada graph). The only other source of information with regards to population status comes from directed surveys of nesting birds on the North Slope of the Yukon and in the mountains of south-western Yukon. These surveys suggest that this breeding population was stable between about 1977 and 2000, but then decreased in the following years due to changes in population cycles of ptarmigans, their primary prey (Mossop 2011). Updated results from this survey could help inform this species' national assessment. For now, the national population is perhaps best assessed as being Data Deficient due to the lack of information across most of the species' range. It follows that a national population goal for the Gyrfalcon has not yet been determined.


Population goal and acceptable levels of variation

Species/groupGoalLower levelUpper level
GyrfalconTo be determinedTo be determinedNot applicable

Picture of logo Christmas Bird Count (CBC)

Additional information on: Christmas Bird Count (CBC)

Table 1: Population trends by geographic area
Geographic areaTime PeriodAnnual Trend Table 1 - footnote 1 Limits
Canada Select to view graph of the geographic area: Canada 1970-2016; Christmas Bird Count (CBC)1970-20161-2.63.88