There are a range of threats that affect Falconiformes, from direct persecution to protect livestock and game, to the indirect manifestations that include habitat destruction and the loss of prey species and specifically incidental poisoning from control programmes targeting other species. The use and effects of DDT is a prime example of such a threat.
There are 286 species in the Order Falconiformes. The family Sagittariidae has one species, the secretary bird. Pandionidae also has one species, the osprey and Accipitridae is the largest family with 217 species. Falconidae has 60 species and the family Cathartidae has seven species. Representatives of Falconidae, Accipitridae, and Pandionidae can be found on every continent worldwide, except Antarctica. Some species, like the osprey and peregrine falcon, are global. The secretary bird is endemic to sub-Saharan Africa. New World vultures are found in North and South America. Old World vultures are found in Europe, Asia, and Africa.