belong to the Falconiformes order, and order that includes diurnal
birds of prey. Its name is derived from the Latin word for falcon,
“falco” which comes from the word “falx” which means sickle,
referring to the sickle shaped talons or shape of the falcon in
flight. The word “peregrinus” means “wandering” in Latin. This
refers to the Peregrine Falcon’s behavior of taking long flights
over great distances and being found all throughout the world.
are large falcons who display sexual dimorphism in size. In
general, they have a body length of 34-50cm (13-20in) and wingspan
of 80-120cm (31-47in). Males have a body mass of 570-710g (20-25oz)
and females 910-1500g (32-53oz). This makes females around 30%
larger than the males. Peregrine Falcons are usually dark-grey to
black in coloring with a lighter underside and black head with a
“moustache” pattern around the cheeks. They also have dark, clear
stripes on the tail.
are one of the most widely distributed birds in the world. They can
live in tundra, deserts, and tropical areas. They often live around
mountain ranges and coastlines. Peregrine Falcons have also come to
be describes as a “cosmopolitan” animal, meaning that it can live in
Falcon’s diet consists mostly of birds such as starlings, pigeons,
blackbirds, and jays that they hunt right out of the air. They will
also sometimes hunt waterfowl.
are migratory birds, and travel a remarkable long distance. In
North America, they have the longest migration of any bird of prey.
Generally, they are docile birds and due to this humans have been
able to train them to use for hunting for centuries. They hunt from
the air, striking their prey in mid-flight. Peregrine Falcons can
dive up to speeds of 322km/h (200mph), making them the fastest
creature on earth. It is speculated that the force of impact from a
Peregrine Falcon’s dive collapses the lungs of its prey, thereby
killing it on impact.
are monogamous and reach maturity at the age of 2 or 3. Courtship
consists of aerial dives and spins between the male and female.
Nests can be found on cliff edges and tall buildings or bridges, and
they are highly territorial over their nesting area. The female
lays three to four eggs that are incubated for29 to 33 days mostly
by the female. After hatching, the chicks remain in the nest for up
to two months.
Where to see them
Look for cliff
faces, where Peregrine Falcons often nest. It is also possible to
find Peregrine falcons in the metropolitan areas of Western New
York. There have been Peregrine Falcon nests found in both Buffalo
and Rochester. These nests have been used by the same pairs of
falcons for a number of years.