© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki. Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.


Falco peregrinus

  • Name also: Peregrine Falcon, Duck Hawk
  • Family: Falcons – Falconidae
  • Appearance: A strongly built falcon with sharp-tipped wings. Cheeks pale, marked with broad moustache-stripe.
  • Size: Length 38–51 cm, wingspan 89–113 cm, weight 630–880 g (male), 860–1,100 g (female).
  • Nest: On a cliff ledge or a hummock in marshland, occasionally in a tree in a nest abandoned by another bird of prey. Does not build a nest as such, but scrapes out a hollow with its legs.
  • Breeding: 1–4 eggs laid from mid April, incubated by both parents for 29–35 days. Fledglings learn to fly within about 35–42 days.
  • Distribution: Breeds in locations with open views over the surroundings, also requires open hunting territory. Nests most readily on cliffs and in extensive open bogs. Numbers in Finland declined steeply in the 1960s due to problems with toxic chemicals in the food chain, but have since recovered. Present Finnish population estimated at ca. 300 pairs.
  • Migration: Birds leave Finland between August and late autumn, returning in March–April after wintering in Western and Southern Europe and North Africa. Some birds also winter in Finland.
  • Diet: Preys on birds, pursuing them in flight at impressive speed or diving on them from above to catch them unawares. Diving speeds are said to reach 300–400 kilometres per hour, creating a loud whooshing noise.
  • Calls: Warning call a harsh, scolding “kra-kra-kra…”.
  • Endangerment: Vunerable, protected throughout Finland including the Åland Islands. Globally Least concern.

Peregrines are strongly built birds of prey, about the size of a Hooded Crow. They have long wings, broad by the body but narrowing to sharp tips. Their tails are of medium length. Adults have dark bluish grey upper parts and pale underparts with dark crosswise streaks. Their distinctive broad moustache-stripes stand out against their yellowish white throats and white cheeks. Juveniles have brownish back and wings, and pale underparts with lengthwise streaks.

Peregrines may be confused with the larger and paler Gyrfalcon, but their moustache-stripes are more prominent. Peregrines have yellow legs (greenish yellow on juveniles). Their beaks are grey with darker tips, a yellow base to the lower mandible, and a hard cere above the upper mandible that is yellowish green on adults and bluish on juvenile birds. Their eyes have dark brown irises and are surrounded by a greenish yellow eye-ring.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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