The Peregrine Falcon

A Peregrin Falcon perched on a bare branch with the blue sky behind it

The Peregrine Falcon is an extremely fast bird of prey. When it is diving, it can travel over 200 miles an hour! It kills it's prey instantly with it's talons. There are many other types of falcons, such as Merlins, and Kestrels, but the Peregrine is the fastest. They can be found all over the world, on every continent except for Antarctica. They nest in very high places, especially on cliffs. They have even been seen nesting on the rim of the Grand Canyon.

Because they are such good hunters, throughout history, people have bred and trained them. In the Middle East, they even started falcon racing contests that became incredibly popular. In 1970, they were listed as an endangered species, because the population had decreased 80-90% below historical levels. But after DDT, a harmful insecticide, was banned and wildlife protection laws were put in place, they have made a resurgence. In 1999, they were officially removed from the endangered species list!   

A close-up of the face of the Peregrine Falcon
A Peregrine Falcon landing on a branch
Did You Know?
  • Latin name: Falco Peregrinus 
  • Length: 16” 
  • Wingspan: 41” 
  • Diet: Mostly birds, from small songbirds to small geese; some bats and rodents 
  • The wings and tail are bluish-gray, while the back and head are a darker brown. 
  • Peregrine Falcons can travel long distances, sometimes between continents, to get from their wintering grounds to their breeding grounds. 
  • Peregrine Falcons can be found in a variety of habitats including mountains, forests, cities, valleys, deserts, and coastlines. 
  • A Peregrine Falcon can live for up to 15 years in the wild, and sometimes longer.