Peregrine Falcon (Falco Peregrinus)
Peregrine Falcon Information & Facts
Often a falcon can be seen circling a church spire, snatching suddenly at one of the hundreds of wild pigeons that are the scourge of modern-day cities. It is because of them that the peregrine falcon, a handsome raptor, is distributed throughout the whole of Europe, for pigeons are the mainstay of its diet, even during the nesting period.
The peregrine Falcon also hunts other birds. When capturing prey on the wing it climbs above the intended victim, then plummets downward at a speed of up to 280 kilometres an hour, suddenly slowing its flight to attack, striking upward to sink its long talons into the victim’s flesh. On occasion the peregrine will also catch a small mammal.
Length: 43 cm.
Wingspan: Male — 86 to 106 cm, female —104 to 114 cm.
Voice: A clear and loud, repeated sound resembling ‘kek-kek-kek’ and a short ‘kiack’.
Size of Egg: 46.0—58.9 X 36.3—44.9 mm.
Peregrine Falcon Habitat
Its nest is built in open country in rocky woodland spots which command a wide view, as well as on coastal cliffs and sometimes on tall city towers. The peregrine falcon often avails itself of an abandoned raptor’s nest, especially in wooded regions.
The thinly-lined structure holds 3 to 4 eggs, which are incubated by the hen, relieved now and then by the male. The nestlings, which emerge after 29 days, are covered with a thick downy coat. For the first few days the male forages for food, which he passes to the hen, who divides it before giving it to the young. The male does not know how to do this and gives food directly to the young only when they are old enough to tear it themselves, usually in the third week after birth. After 35 to 40 days the nestlings leave the nest, but remain within close range for some time.