Peregrine Falcon

Falco peregrinus

Status

Special Concern

Description

Wingspan of about 1 m. Long pointed wings and short tail which often appears tapered and pointed in high-speed flight. Distinctive blackish blue upper parts and 'helmet' with broad down curved 'moustache.' White unmarked throat and upper breast. Dark barring on the whitish breast, underwings and undertail. First-year juveniles are brownish overall with brown streaking on creamy underparts. When perched, the wingtips reach the tail tip. Constant rapid wingbeats when in direct flight. Famous for spectacular high speed diving attacks when hunting bird prey such as Rock Pigeons, gulls, and ducks.

Habitat

April to October. Migrates south to Central and South America for the winter. The Peregrine Falcon uses 3 specific areas as their nests are usually scrapes made on cliff ledges on steep cliffs, usually near wetlands and grasslands, or on high-rise building ledges. Nesting territories established around the nest prevent other pairs from nesting within 1 km or more, ensuring adequate food for all nesting pairs and their young;
larger home ranges are extended, non-defended areas over which Peregrines hunt for additional food and which can extend to more than 20 km from the nest;
Peregrines prefer open habitats such as wetlands, grasslands, water coasts and and mountain meadows, but will also hunt over open forest.

Threats

Pesticide use, specifically DDT, which caused eggshell thinning, resulted in widespread reproductive failure in previous decades
Loss of habitat including suitable nesting sites and foraging areas
Human disturbance near nest sites

You Can Help!

Protect suitable nesting sites and leave them undisturbed
Use integrated pest management and avoid use of pesticides if possible

Resources

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