peregrine falcon

36 Interesting Facts About Peregrine Falcons (Detailed)

Peregrine Falcons are one of the most amazing creatures on earth. This article contains 36 interesting facts about Peregrine Falcons with photos, and details to help you learn more about these fascinating birds. 


  • Identification: Peregrine Falcons have a blue-gray back, buff underparts with a bit of a rusty hue, and thin black or dark brown barring, with a black head and distinctive white patches around the neck. The wing feathers are dark brown or olive brown with lighter edges. In flight, the falcon’s under wings are grayish with black barring, with black tips on the wing feathers visible from below. The falcon has a black beak with a yellow eye-ring, and cere, yellow legs and feet that stand in contrast to its dark plumage; it also has long black talons that help it grip onto prey as it swoops down from great heights.
  • Length: 13.8-19.7 in (35-49 cm)
  • Weight: 18.7-56.4 oz (530-1600 g)
  • Wingspan: 39.5-43.4 in (100-110 cm)
  • Order: Falconiformes
  • Family: Falconidae
  • Genus: Falco
  • Scientific Name: Falco peregrinus
  • Range: North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.  
  • Habitat:  They prefer open country such as ocean, coasts, prairies, deserts, grasslands, as well as cities or towns where there are tall buildings to nest on.
  • Diet: Carrion, fish, snakes, frogs, mice, insects and small animals such as seagulls, ducks, pigeons and rabbits.
  • Worldwide Population: 140,000 individuals.
  • Conservation Status: Listed Least Concern (Population is stable).
  • Nesting Behavior: The Peregrine Falcons nesting behavior is something else. A group of these birds will usually build their nests on a cliffside, or other high place with a wide view of the surrounding area. They use rocks and sticks to make an “oven” shape for the eggs and then line it with grasses, mosses, lichens, fur from animals they hunted during winter, small feathers from other birds.
  • Incubation Length: 29-32 days
  • Nestling Length: 35-42 days
  • Clutch Size: 2-5 eggs

Peregrine Falcons Eat More Than Just Birds.

They use their speed to catch birds such as seagulls, ducks, pigeons in midair, but they also eat other small animals such as mice, rabbits, squirrels as well as carrion, fish, insects and even snakes.

The name “Peregrine” means “Wanderer” in Latin.

The peregrine falcon is a bird of prey. It got its name from the Latin word “peregrinus” which means “wanderer”. The falcon was named by Pliny the Elder, who wrote about it in his book Natural History. 

Peregrine Falcons are Everywhere Except Antarctica.

Peregrine Falcons are one of the most widespread bird species in the world. They can be found on every continent except Antarctica, but nowhere is it more prevalent than North America. There are many factors that contribute to their prevalence, including human activities such as hunting and habitat destruction. These days, however, humans have largely caused them to be extinct outside of areas where they can nest in tall buildings or bridges due to pesticides used by farmers which killed all other food sources for them.

The Black Tear Strip is an Indicator of Gender.

Peregrines have a very noticeable black “tear strip” going from their eyes down to their neck. This strip allows you to differentiate male and female falcons, since the female’s strip is usually gray.

The Female Peregrine Falcon is Larger Than the Male.

The female Peregrine Falcon is larger than the male. The average weight of a female Peregrine Falcon is 1,200 grams and an average height of 46-55 centimeters (4 inches taller and 300-400 grams heavier). This size difference between males and females may be due to how much energy it takes for a female to produce eggs​​​​​​​.

When Peregrine Falcons Strike, It’s Fast and Fierce.

Peregrine falcons are known to be fierce hunters, even though they are extremely fast. They catch their prey by diving at it from a very high altitude, grabbing it with their talons and carried it back to the nest.

Peregrine Falcons Chicks  Are Called “Eyasses”.​​​​​​​

The Peregrine Falcons chicks are called “Eyasses”. They grow quickly at an average rate of about 1 inch every week until they’re fledged which means their feathers will come out, and will leave the nest.

Peregrine Falcons Are the Fastest Animal on Earth.

The peregrine falcon is prized for its ability to dive at very high speeds under sudden impulse. This ability makes it an excellent glider, which allows it to soar long distances without flapping its wings. It can reach diving speeds of 242 miles per hour (390 km/h), which is one of the fastest known for any bird or animal.

Peregrine Falcon
Photo by USFWS on Pixnio

They Are Monogamous and Mate for Life.

Peregrine Falcons mate for life. They are monogamous and form strong bonds that last a lifetime. Peregrines typically mate for life, but there have been cases where one partner was killed or disappeared.​​​​​​​

Peregrines Can Be Trained to Catch Pests.

The Peregrine Falcon is a bird of prey, the fastest creature on earth. However, they are also known for their prowess as a hunter and can be trained to catch pests that might damage crops (such as the Norway rat.) However, training them requires a lot of patience and effort on the trainer’s part! 

Peregrine Falcons Have Long Lifespans.

Peregrine Falcons have long lifespans. Peregrines have been known to live up to 25 years in captivity and up to 20 years in the wild.  But the average lifespan for a peregrine in the wild is 16-18 years of age..

Peregrines Are Very Good At Being Stealthy.

Peregrines are known for their speed and agility, but what many people don’t know is that they can also be quite stealthy. The Peregrine Falcon is able to fold its wings into its back, allowing it to compress into the size of a pigeon. This allows them to stay undetected perched on power lines and other structures. 

Peregrine Falcon Chicks Are Born Altricial.

The peregrine falcon chicks are altricial, meaning they are born “wet”, naked, blind and helpless, eventually gaining their eyesight after about one week of age. The fledglings will leave the nest about a month later, or once they can hunt, and become dependent on their own.

One Third of All Peregrines Live on Remote Islands.

Peregrines are a type of falcon that can be found in many places around the world. One third of all Peregrines live on remote islands such as Gough Island off the coast of Africa or cliffs near oceans like those found on Baja California’s Guadalupe Island. They have been seen at sea level, up to 4000 feet above sea level and even in caves.

Peregrines Keep a Sharp Eye on Their Territory.

When not hunting, peregrines will stay on their territory all day long. They typically spend most of the time perched in a tree looking out for any intruders that might disturb them or their nest site below. 

They rely on Bridges and Skyscrapers for Nesting.

These birds nest on cliffs or other high structures near large cities, such as bridges and skyscrapers, because these areas provide them with good vantage points for hunting birds below them.

The Spectacular Way Peregrine Falcons Hunt.

Peregrine Falcons are one of the most impressive hunters in the animal kingdom. These birds have one of the most impressive flight patterns, called a stoop, where they dive at high speed towards their prey and then pull out just before hitting it. This hunting technique is also known as a pounce or plummeting attack. Peregrines will go after almost any bird but their favorite prey includes ducks, geese, pigeons and shorebirds. ​​​​​​​

The Peregrine Falcon Can See a Mouse From 3 km Away.

The Peregrine Falcon has an impressive eyesight. This falcon’s vision is eight times better than that of humans; it can see prey at distances up to 3 km (1.86 miles) away! ​​​​​​​This means that the falcon has no problem seeing its target before it dives in.​​​​​​​

They Have a Third Eyelid to Protect Their Eyes.

Peregrine Falcons have a third eyelid that they use to protect their eyes while diving. This is called the nictitating membrane, and it acts as a protective barrier for the eye. The nictitating membrane is translucent, so it does not interfere with vision during dives, but still helps keep the eye moist by spreading tears across its surface.