Peregrine Falcon

Scientific Name:

Falco peregrinus

Type:

Bird

Habitat:

Mudflats, barrier islands, lake edges, coastlines and mountainous areas are the preferred habitat, but anywhere with high nesting locations and perches such as cliffs, in tall trees, or on city skyscrapers

Range:

Every continent except Antarctica but most commonly found in coastal areas

Status:

Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is

NATIVE

to the Truckee Meadows.

Identification:

Peregrine falcons are the largest falcons at about 1.5 feet in height with a wingspan of 3.5 feet. As is common with many raptors, males are smaller than females, so a peregrine falcon may weigh anywhere from just over a pound to 3.5 pounds. As powerful flyers, Peregrine falcons are some of the fastest birds in the world! They average 24-33 miles per hour when flying and up to 67 miles per hour when chasing their prey. Perhaps the most distinctive characteristic of the Peregrine falcon is the stoop; Peregrine falcons will drop or free fall dive at 200 miles per hour to stun and capture their prey. Adult Peregrine falcons are blue-gray in color with a darker head and bright yellow talons. Their diet consists primarily of other birds, depending on what is available this can be anything from pigeons in the city to seagulls along the coast.

Fast Facts:

  • Peregrine falcons suffered a great decline in numbers due to pesticides from the 1940s-1970s, however due to numerous conservation efforts, they were removed from the endangered species list in 1999.

  • The spectacular hunting dives, called stoops, can begin anywhere from 300 to 3,000 feet above their prey. They tuck in their wings and then aim to knock their stunned prey to the ground or catch it midair.

  • Not only do Peregrines use their impressive flying for hunting, but those who migrate from their nest sites on the Arctic Tundra to winter in South America fly nearly 15,500 miles a year.

  • Peregrine falcons are the favorite of falconers who have trained these birds for sport for over 1,000 years.

  • The eyesite of a Peregrine falcon is at least 8 times better than ours.

  • Peregrine falcons are usually seen in the Truckee Meadows during their migration.

Sources:

Contributor(s):

Regina Hockett (research & content)

Rachel Carroll (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

November 30, 2021, 6:51:02 PM