A falcon is any one of 37 species of raptor in the genus Falco, widely distributed on all continents of the world except Antarctica. Falcons are medium sized birds of prey

Fast Facts about Falcons

1. The peregrine falcon is the most common bird of prey in the world and is found on every continent besides Antarctica. Adults have blue-gray wings, dark brown backs, a buff colored underside with brown spots, and white faces with a black tear stripe on their cheeks. They have a hooked beaks and strong talons. Their name comes from the Latin word peregrinus, which means “to wander.”

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2. Other falcons include the gyrfalcon, lanner falcon, and the merlin. Some small falcons with long narrow wings are called hobbies, and some which hover while hunting are called kestrels.

3. Falcons are swift powerful fliers that dive at their prey catching it in mid-air. Falcons hunt all kinds of small animals like mice, frogs, fish and falcons will even catch small birds in the air.

4. Peregrine falcons don’t build nests. They usually just find a shallow dip in some rocks or scrape a depression in the soil on the ledge of a cliff, or even use the ledge of a building.

5. Falcons vary in size from 25cm tall to more than 60cm tall, but the height of the falcon depends on the species.

6. Falcons are birds of prey and are therefore known for their incredible hunting skills and being a ruthless, dominant predator within their environment. Falcons hunt their prey from the skies above and swoop down through the air to catch it once they have spotted a meal with their incredible eyesight.

7. They are at the top of the food chain, so adult peregrines have no natural predators.  They do however, face many threats from humans ~ use of pesticides, altering of landscape and habitats, egg collecting, hunting, and taking of the young for falconry.  Baby falcons (eyases) are a tasty meal for owls, racoons, and mountain cats.

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8. Falcons nest on high ground such as mountains and cliffs and in the tops of tall trees. This means that the vulnerable eggs and chicks of the falcon are in the safest place possible. Falcons start to breed when they are about a year old. Female falcons lay an average of 3 eggs per clutch and look after their chicks until they are big enough and strong enough to fend for themselves.

9. Peregrines make a “kek-kek-kek” noise, especially when angry or aggressive.

10. The lifespan of the falcon is 15-17 years depending on it species