Known for their exceptional power of vision, speed and aerodynamic body shape, a falcon is a species of raptor in the genus Falco group, having thin tapered wings and distinctively sharp beaks, the largest genus in the Falconinae subfamily of Falconidae. They are found broadly spread on all continents of the world except Antarctica.
Learn more about the species below:
- Peregrine falcons, a type, are the fastest moving creatures on Earth, having recorded diving speeds at 200 miles per hour (320 km/h).
- They have incomparably designed narrow wings which enables them fly at high speed and change directions swiftly.
- They use their beaks to kill the prey, utilizing the tooth on the side of their beak. However, birds like hawks and eagles use their feet instead.
- The unique falcon’s technique of hunting with skilled captive birds of prey is termed as ‘falconry’.
- They have brilliant powers of vision. The visual acuteness of one species has been measured at 2.6 times that of a normal human.
- The gyrfalcon (also spelled gerfalcon), is the largest type in falcon species and breeds on Arctic coasts and the islands of North America, Europe, and Asia.
- Some particular small falcons with long tapered wings are called ‘hobbies’ and some which fly while hunting are called ‘kestrels’.
- The lanner falcon, another type, is the medium-sized group that breeds in Africa, southeast Europe and just into Asia.
- The merlin (Falco columbarius), once known colloquially as a pigeon hawk in North America, is a small species of falcon from the Northern Hemisphere.
- The traditional term for a male falcon is ‘tercel’ (British spelling), meaning ‘third’, because of the fact that only one in three eggs hatched delivers a male bird.
- Falcons are roughly dividable into three groups. The first contains the kestrels, usually small and stocky, the second group contains slightly larger species, like the hobbies and their relatives and the third are the peregrine falcon and their kinds, erratically sized powerful birds.
- The female peregrine is traditionally called the “falcon” (the most famous group) and like in case of most birds is larger than the male variant.
- Both the sexes of peregrine interestingly have different voices. The male voice is breathless and high-pitched and the female’s voice is crude and gruff.
- This genre is best identified by the black mask of feathers that almost covers the face. They have bluish-grey heads and backs, with white throats, dispersed with black and brown feathers.
- They can endure in a wide array of habitats including urban cities, tropics, deserts and the tundra.
- Falcons are somewhere between 25cm – 60cm tall, and the height depends on the variant.
- Falcons hunt all kinds of small animals ranging from fish, frogs to mice, rabbits or even birds like bats flying in the sky.
- This species is usually solitary, and are known to stay in the same place.
- Many species of falcon are also migratory, known to travel more than 15,000 miles per year.
- Falcons prefer building their nest on highest peaks of mountains, tress or tall structures, to keep their vulnerable eggs and chicks in the safest place possible.
- Humans and wolves are the main predators of the falcon on the ground. Even eagles and owls have been known to hunt the smaller species of falcon.
- Peregrines, the common of all, are at risk of being exposed to high levels of pesticide residues as they eat birds that may have consumed grain or insects sprayed with pesticides.
- Eyases, peregrine’s chicks, eat an unbelievable amount of food and in six days, they double their weight, and at three weeks is ten times their size at birth.
- The same species have an anticipated 1,650 breeding pairs in the U.S. and Canada.
- A falcon is any one of 37 species of raptor in the genus Falco.
Kingdom : Animalia
Diet : Carnivore
Life span : 12 – 18 years
Favourite Food : Birds
Average Clutch Size : 3