Latin Name: Falco peregrinus: peregrinus means “to wander.”
Description: large falcon; relatively long tail; pointed wing tips; slate-gray above; black helmet on head; whitish neck; buff beneath; lightly barred breast; Wing tips seem pointed while at rest; regional variations exist (very dark in the northwest to pale in the north
Sex: males and females essentially colored the same
Age: juveniles are a dark buff color with heavy streaking underneath
Weight: 1.6 lbs.
Habitat: open country, cliffs, cities
Range: worldwide except for Antarctica.
Status: once found across all of North America until pesticides such as DDT eliminated eastern populations, almost to extinction; pesticide banning and captive-breeding programs have helped with their recovery; seen year-round in the US, but uncommon to rare in the winter
Behavior: don’t build nests; lay 2-4 reddish, darker flecked eggs in cliff hollows; bare rocky outcrops, bridges or tall building ledges; 28 day incubation period by both parents; chicks leave the nest at 5-6 weeks; hunts by flying very fast and making dramatic dives or stoops to catch prey in midair
Diet: small birds, large insects,
Vocalization: rapid “kek kek kek kek”, repeated “we chew” at nest
- World Bird Sanctuary released to the wild over 80 babies hatched in captivity.
- Peregrines are the fastest animals on earth and have been clocked diving at 261 mph
- There are 3 subspecies in the U.S: Peale’s in the far west, Tundra in the central U.S., and Anatum from the east.