Peregrine Falcon

Falco peregrinus

Animal Ambassadors


These falcons are formidable hunters that prey on other
birds (and bats) in mid-flight. Peregrines hunt from above and, after sighting their prey,
drop into a steep, swift dive that can top 230 miles an hour. This makes them the fastest
animal on the planet.
Peregrine falcons are among the world’s most common birds of prey and live on all
continents except Antarctica. They prefer wide-open spaces, and thrive near coasts where
shorebirds are common, but they can be found everywhere from tundra to deserts.
Peregrines are even known to live on bridges and skyscrapers in major cities. These birds
may travel widely outside the nesting season—their name means “wanderer.” Though
some individuals are permanent residents, many migrate. Those that nest on Arctic tundra
and winter in South America fly as many as 15,500 miles in a year. Yet they have an
incredible homing instinct that leads them back to favored nesting areas. Some nesting sites
have been in continuous use for hundreds of years, occupied by successive generations of
Peregrine populations were in steep decline during the mid-20th century, and in the United
States these beautiful falcons became an endangered species. The birds have rebounded
strongly since the use of DDT and other chemical pesticides was curtailed. Captive breeding
programs have also helped to boost the bird’s numbers in the U.S. and Canada. Now
populations are strong in those nations, and in some parts of the globe, there actually may
be more peregrines than existed before the 20th-century decline.

almost exclusively medium sized birds, small mammals, reptiles, insects
With 19 subspecies, the Peregrine can be found on every continent except Antarctica
up to 19 years / up to 25 years
mountain ranges, river valleys, coastlines, and cities
Length / Wingspan:
2-4 ft
1-3 lbs