Peregrine Falcon

Falco peregrinus

Fascinating Facts

Physical Characteristics

The Peregrine Falcon has a body length of 34 to 58 centimetres (13–23 in) and a wingspan of around 80 to 120 centimetres (31–47 in). The male and female have similar markings and plumage, but the female measuring up to 30% larger than the male.

The back and the long pointed wings of the adult are usually bluish black to slate grey with indistinct darker barring; the wingtips are black. The white to rusty underparts are barred with thin clean bands of dark brown or black. The tail, coloured like the back but with thin clean bars, is long, narrow, and rounded at the end with a black tip and a white band at the very end. The top of the head and a "moustache" along the cheeks are black, contrasting sharply with the pale sides of the neck and white throat. The upper beak is notched near the tip, an adaptation which enables falcons to kill prey by severing the spinal column at the neck.

Habitat/Diet

It was formerly common throughout North America between the tundra and northern Mexico, where current reintroduction efforts seek to restore the population. They feed almost exclusively on medium-sized birds such as pigeons and doves, waterfowl, songbirds, and waders.

Social Behavior

Peregrine Falcons catch medium-sized birds in the air with swift, spectacular dives, called stoops. In cities they are masterful at catching pigeons. Elsewhere they feed especially on shorebirds and ducks. They often sit on high perches, waiting for the right opportunity to make their aerial assault. They hunt at dawn and dusk, when prey are most active, but also nocturnally in cities, particularly during migration periods when hunting at night may become prevalent.

Status In The Wild

They are Least Concerned.

Other

The Peregrine falcon can be seen on Hawk Hill at the ARC.



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