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Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon

Overview
The Peregrine Falcon also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey
Bird of prey
Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh....

 in the family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 Falconidae
Falconidae
The falcons and caracaras are around 60 species of diurnal birds of prey that make up the family Falconidae. The family is divided into two subfamiles, Polyborinae, which includes the caracaras and forest falcons, and Falconinae, the falcons, kestrels and falconets.-Description:Falcons and...

. A large, crow
Crow
Crows form the genus Corvus in the family Corvidae. Ranging in size from the relatively small pigeon-size jackdaws to the Common Raven of the Holarctic region and Thick-billed Raven of the highlands of Ethiopia, the 40 or so members of this genus occur on all temperate continents and several...

-sized falcon
Falcon
A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America....

, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache". Typical of bird-eating
Avivore
An avivore is a specialized predator of birds, with birds making up a large proportion of its diet. Such bird-eating animals come from a range of groups.-Birds:Birds that are specialized predators of birds include certain accipiters and falcons...

 raptors, Peregrine Falcons are sexually dimorphic
Sexual dimorphism
Sexual dimorphism is a phenotypic difference between males and females of the same species. Examples of such differences include differences in morphology, ornamentation, and behavior.-Examples:-Ornamentation / coloration:...

, with females being considerably larger than males. The Peregrine is renowned for its speed, reaching over 325 km/h (201.9 mph) during its characteristic hunting stoop, making it the fastest member of the animal kingdom.

The Peregrine's breeding range includes land regions from the Arctic tundra to the tropics
Tropics
The tropics is a region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately  N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at  S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth...

.
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Encyclopedia
The Peregrine Falcon also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey
Bird of prey
Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh....

 in the family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 Falconidae
Falconidae
The falcons and caracaras are around 60 species of diurnal birds of prey that make up the family Falconidae. The family is divided into two subfamiles, Polyborinae, which includes the caracaras and forest falcons, and Falconinae, the falcons, kestrels and falconets.-Description:Falcons and...

. A large, crow
Crow
Crows form the genus Corvus in the family Corvidae. Ranging in size from the relatively small pigeon-size jackdaws to the Common Raven of the Holarctic region and Thick-billed Raven of the highlands of Ethiopia, the 40 or so members of this genus occur on all temperate continents and several...

-sized falcon
Falcon
A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America....

, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache". Typical of bird-eating
Avivore
An avivore is a specialized predator of birds, with birds making up a large proportion of its diet. Such bird-eating animals come from a range of groups.-Birds:Birds that are specialized predators of birds include certain accipiters and falcons...

 raptors, Peregrine Falcons are sexually dimorphic
Sexual dimorphism
Sexual dimorphism is a phenotypic difference between males and females of the same species. Examples of such differences include differences in morphology, ornamentation, and behavior.-Examples:-Ornamentation / coloration:...

, with females being considerably larger than males. The Peregrine is renowned for its speed, reaching over 325 km/h (201.9 mph) during its characteristic hunting stoop, making it the fastest member of the animal kingdom.

The Peregrine's breeding range includes land regions from the Arctic tundra to the tropics
Tropics
The tropics is a region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately  N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at  S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth...

. It can be found nearly everywhere on Earth, except extreme polar region
Polar region
Earth's polar regions are the areas of the globe surrounding the poles also known as frigid zones. The North Pole and South Pole being the centers, these regions are dominated by the polar ice caps, resting respectively on the Arctic Ocean and the continent of Antarctica...

s, very high mountains, and most tropical rainforest
Rainforest
Rainforests are forests characterized by high rainfall, with definitions based on a minimum normal annual rainfall of 1750-2000 mm...

s; the only major ice-free landmass from which it is entirely absent is New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

. This makes it the world's most widespread bird of prey. Both the English and scientific names of this species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 mean "wandering falcon", referring to the migratory
Bird migration
Bird migration is the regular seasonal journey undertaken by many species of birds. Bird movements include those made in response to changes in food availability, habitat or weather. Sometimes, journeys are not termed "true migration" because they are irregular or in only one direction...

 habits of many northern populations. Experts recognize 17 to 19 subspecies
Subspecies
Subspecies in biological classification, is either a taxonomic rank subordinate to species, ora taxonomic unit in that rank . A subspecies cannot be recognized in isolation: a species will either be recognized as having no subspecies at all or two or more, never just one...

 which vary in appearance and range; there is disagreement over whether the distinctive Barbary Falcon
Barbary Falcon
The Barbary Falcon is a medium-sized falcon about the size of a crow. This bird of prey breeds in the Canary Islands and on the coasts of north Africa. It is mainly resident.-Description:...

 is represented by two subspecies of Falco peregrinus, or is a separate species, F. pelegrinoides.

While its diet consists almost exclusively of medium-sized birds, the Peregrine will occasionally hunt small mammals, small reptiles, or even insects. Reaching sexual maturity at one year, it mates for life and nests in a scrape, normally on cliff edges or, in recent times, on tall human-made structures. The Peregrine Falcon became an endangered species in many areas because of pesticides, especially DDT
DDT
DDT is one of the most well-known synthetic insecticides. It is a chemical with a long, unique, and controversial history....

. Since the ban on DDT from the early 1970s, populations have recovered, supported by large-scale protection of nesting places and releases to the wild.

Description


The Peregrine Falcon has a body length of 34 to 58 cm (13.4 to 22.8 in) and a wingspan of around 80 to 120 cm (31.5 to 47.2 in). The male and female have similar markings and plumage
Plumage
Plumage refers both to the layer of feathers that cover a bird and the pattern, colour, and arrangement of those feathers. The pattern and colours of plumage vary between species and subspecies and can also vary between different age classes, sexes, and season. Within species there can also be a...

, but as in many birds of prey the Peregrine Falcon displays marked reverse sexual dimorphism
Sexual dimorphism
Sexual dimorphism is a phenotypic difference between males and females of the same species. Examples of such differences include differences in morphology, ornamentation, and behavior.-Examples:-Ornamentation / coloration:...

 in size, with the female measuring up to 30 percent larger than the male. Males weigh 440 to 750 g (0.970033953613461 to 1.7 lb) and the noticeably larger females weigh 910 to 1500 g (2 to 3.3 lb); for variation in weight between subspecies, see under that section below.

The back and the long pointed wings of the adult are usually bluish black to slate gray with indistinct darker barring (see "Subspecies" below); the wingtips are black. The white to rusty underparts are barred with thin clean bands of dark brown or black. The tail, colored like the back but with thin clean bars, is long, narrow and rounded at the end with a black tip and a white band at the very end. The top of the head and a "mustache" along the cheeks are black, contrasting sharply with the pale sides of the neck and white throat. The cere
Cère
The Cère is a long river in south-western France, left tributary of the Dordogne River. Its source is in the south-western Massif Central, near the mountain Plomb du Cantal...

 is yellow, as are the feet, and the beak
Beak
The beak, bill or rostrum is an external anatomical structure of birds which is used for eating and for grooming, manipulating objects, killing prey, fighting, probing for food, courtship and feeding young...

 and claw
Claw
A claw is a curved, pointed appendage, found at the end of a toe or finger in most mammals, birds, and some reptiles. However, the word "claw" is also often used in reference to an invertebrate. Somewhat similar fine hooked structures are found in arthropods such as beetles and spiders, at the end...

s are black. The upper beak is notched near the tip, an adaptation which enables falcons to kill prey by severing the spinal column
Cervical vertebrae
In vertebrates, cervical vertebrae are those vertebrae immediately inferior to the skull.Thoracic vertebrae in all mammalian species are defined as those vertebrae that also carry a pair of ribs, and lie caudal to the cervical vertebrae. Further caudally follow the lumbar vertebrae, which also...

 at the neck. The immature bird is much browner with streaked, rather than barred, underparts, and has a pale bluish cere and orbital ring.

Taxonomy and systematics



Falco peregrinus was first described under its current binomial name by English ornithologist Marmaduke Tunstall
Marmaduke Tunstall
Marmaduke Tunstall was an English ornithologist and collector. He was the author of Ornithologica Britannica , probably the first British work to use binomial nomenclature....

 in his 1771 Ornithologia Britannica. The scientific name Falco peregrinus is a Medieval Latin
Medieval Latin
Medieval Latin was the form of Latin used in the Middle Ages, primarily as a medium of scholarly exchange and as the liturgical language of the medieval Roman Catholic Church, but also as a language of science, literature, law, and administration. Despite the clerical origin of many of its authors,...

 phrase that was used by Albertus Magnus
Albertus Magnus
Albertus Magnus, O.P. , also known as Albert the Great and Albert of Cologne, is a Catholic saint. He was a German Dominican friar and a bishop, who achieved fame for his comprehensive knowledge of and advocacy for the peaceful coexistence of science and religion. Those such as James A. Weisheipl...

 in 1225. The specific name taken from the fact that juvenile birds were taken while journeying to their breeding location rather than from the nest, as falcon nests were difficult to get at. The Latin term for falcon, falco, is related to falx, the Latin word meaning sickle
Sickle
A sickle is a hand-held agricultural tool with a variously curved blade typically used for harvesting grain crops or cutting succulent forage chiefly for feeding livestock . Sickles have also been used as weapons, either in their original form or in various derivations.The diversity of sickles that...

, in reference to the silhouette of the falcon's long, pointed wings in flight.

The Peregrine Falcon belongs to a genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 whose lineage includes the hierofalcon
Hierofalcon
The hierofalcons are four closely related species of falcon which make up the subgenus Hierofalco:* Lanner Falcon, Falco biarmicus* Laggar Falcon, Falco jugger* Saker Falcon, Falco cherrug* Gyrfalcon, Falco rusticolus...

s and the Prairie Falcon
Prairie Falcon
The Prairie Falcon is a medium-sized falcon of western North America.It is about the size of a Peregrine Falcon or a crow, with an average length of 40 cm , wingspan of 1 metre , and weight of 720 g...

  (F. mexicanus). This lineage probably diverged from other falcons towards the end of the Late Miocene
Late Miocene
The Late Miocene is a sub-epoch of the Miocene Epoch made up of two stages. The Tortonian and Messinian stages comprise the Late Miocene sub-epoch....

 or in the Early Pliocene, about 8–5 million years ago (mya). As the Peregrine-hierofalcon group includes both Old World
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

 and North American species, it is likely that the lineage originated in western Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

 or Africa. Its relationship to other falcons is not clear; the issue is complicated by widespread hybridization confounding mtDNA sequence
DNA sequence
The sequence or primary structure of a nucleic acid is the composition of atoms that make up the nucleic acid and the chemical bonds that bond those atoms. Because nucleic acids, such as DNA and RNA, are unbranched polymers, this specification is equivalent to specifying the sequence of...

 analyses; for example a genetic lineage of the Saker Falcon
Saker Falcon
The Saker Falcon is a very large falcon. This species breeds from eastern Europe eastwards across Asia to Manchuria. It is mainly migratory except in the southernmost parts of its range, wintering in Ethiopia, the Arabian peninsula, northern Pakistan and western China...

 (F. cherrug) is known which originated from a male Saker producing fertile young with a female Peregrine ancestor.

Today, Peregrines are regularly hybridized in captivity with other species such as the Lanner Falcon
Lanner Falcon
The Lanner Falcon is a large bird of prey that breeds in Africa, southeast Europe and just into Asia. It is mainly resident, but some birds disperse more widely after the breeding season.-Description:...

 (F. biarmicus) to produce the "perilanner
Perilanner
Perilanner is a term used by falconers to describe a hybrid between a peregrine falcon and a lanner falcon. It is larger and faster than a lanner, but does not fly as far as a peregrine, and thus is less likely to fly far away and become lost. Usually the peregrine is the father and the lanner is...

", a somewhat popular bird in falconry
Falconry
Falconry is "the taking of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained raptor". There are two traditional terms used to describe a person involved in falconry: a falconer flies a falcon; an austringer flies a hawk or an eagle...

 as it combines the Peregrine's hunting skill with the Lanner's hardiness, or the Gyrfalcon
Gyrfalcon
The Gyrfalcon — Falco rusticolus — is the largest of the falcon species. The Gyrfalcon breeds on Arctic coasts and the islands of North America, Europe, and Asia. It is mainly resident there also, but some Gyrfalcons disperse more widely after the breeding season, or in winter.Individual vagrancy...

 to produce large, strikingly colored birds for the use of falconers. As can be seen, the Peregrine is still genetically close to the hierofalcons, though their lineages diverged in the Late Pliocene (maybe some 2.5–2 mya in the Gelasian
Gelasian
The Gelasian is an age in the international geologic timescale or a stage in chronostratigraphy, being the earliest or lowest subdivision of the Quaternary period/system and Pleistocene epoch/series. It spans the time between 2.588 ± 0.005 Ma and 1.806 ± 0.005 Ma...

).

Subspecies


Numerous subspecies
Subspecies
Subspecies in biological classification, is either a taxonomic rank subordinate to species, ora taxonomic unit in that rank . A subspecies cannot be recognized in isolation: a species will either be recognized as having no subspecies at all or two or more, never just one...

 of Falco peregrinus have been described, with 19 accepted by the 1994 Handbook of the Birds of the World
Handbook of the Birds of the World
The Handbook of the Birds of the World is a multi-volume series produced by the Spanish publishing house Lynx Edicions. It is the first handbook to cover every known living species of bird. The series is edited by Josep del Hoyo, Andrew Elliott, Jordi Sargatal and David A Christie.So far, 15...

, which considers the Barbary Falcon
Barbary Falcon
The Barbary Falcon is a medium-sized falcon about the size of a crow. This bird of prey breeds in the Canary Islands and on the coasts of north Africa. It is mainly resident.-Description:...

 of the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

 and coastal north Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 to be two subspecies (pelegrinoides and babylonicus) of Falco peregrinus, rather than a distinct species, F. pelegrinoides. The following map shows the general geographical ranges of these 19 subspecies:
  • Falco peregrinus anatum, described by Bonaparte in 1838, is known as the American Peregrine Falcon, or "Duck Hawk"; its scientific name means "Duck Peregrine Falcon". At one time, it was partly included in leucogenys. It is mainly found in the Rocky Mountains
    Rocky Mountains
    The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

     today. It was formerly common throughout North America between the tundra and northern Mexico
    Mexico
    The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

    , where current reintroduction
    Reintroduction
    Reintroduction is the deliberate release of a species into the wild in zones formerly inhabited by said species but where it has disappeared from for a number of reasons, from captivity or relocated from other areas where the species still survives in...

     efforts seek to restore the population. Most mature anatum, except those that breed in more northern areas, winter in their breeding range. Most vagrants that reach western Europe seem to belong to the more northern and strongly migratory tundrius, only considered distinct since 1968. It is similar to peregrinus but is slightly smaller; adults are somewhat paler and less patterned below, but juveniles are darker and more patterned below. Males weigh 500 to 700 g (1.1 to 1.5 lb), while females weigh 800 to 1100 g (1.8 to 2.4 lb).


  • Falco peregrinus babylonicus, described by P.L. Sclater
    Philip Sclater
    Philip Lutley Sclater was an English lawyer and zoologist. In zoology, he was an expert ornithologist, and identified the main zoogeographic regions of the world...

     in 1861, is found in eastern Iran
    Iran
    Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

     along the Hindu Kush
    Hindu Kush
    The Hindu Kush is an mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The highest point in the Hindu Kush is Tirich Mir in the Chitral region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.It is the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram Range, and is a...

     and Tian Shan
    Tian Shan
    The Tian Shan , also spelled Tien Shan, is a large mountain system located in Central Asia. The highest peak in the Tian Shan is Victory Peak , ....

     to Mongolian Altai ranges. A few birds winter in northern and northwestern India, mainly in dry semi-desert habitats. It is paler than pelegrinoides, and somewhat similar to a small, pale Lanner Falcon
    Lanner Falcon
    The Lanner Falcon is a large bird of prey that breeds in Africa, southeast Europe and just into Asia. It is mainly resident, but some birds disperse more widely after the breeding season.-Description:...

     (Falco biarmicus). Males weigh 330 to 400 g (11.6 to 14.1 oz), while females weigh 513 to 765 g (18.1 to 27 oz).

  • Falco peregrinus brookei, described by Sharpe
    Richard Bowdler Sharpe
    Richard Bowdler Sharpe was an English zoologist.-Biography:Sharpe was born in London and studied at Brighton College, The King's School, Peterborough and Loughborough Grammar School. At the age of sixteen he went to work for Smith & Sons in London...

     in 1873, is also known as the Mediterranean Peregrine Falcon or the Maltese Falcon. It includes caucasicus and most specimens of the proposed race punicus, though others may be pelegrinoides, Barbary Falcons (see also below), or perhaps the rare hybrids between these two which might occur around Algeria
    Algeria
    Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

    . They occur from the Iberian Peninsula
    Iberian Peninsula
    The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

     around the Mediterranean, except in arid
    Arid
    A region is said to be arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or even preventing the growth and development of plant and animal life...

     regions, to the Caucasus
    Caucasus
    The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

    . They are non-migratory. It is smaller than the nominate subspecies, and the underside usually has rusty hue. Males weigh around 445 gram (0.981057066722705 lb), while females weigh up to 920 grams (2 lb).

  • Falco peregrinus calidus, described by John Latham
    John Latham (ornithologist)
    John Latham was an English physician, naturalist and author. He was born at Eltham in Kent, and was the eldest son of John Latham, a surgeon there, and his mother was a descendant of the Sothebys, in Yorkshire....

     in 1790, was formerly called leucogenys and includes caeruleiceps. It breeds in the Arctic
    Arctic
    The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

     tundra of Eurasia, from Murmansk Oblast
    Murmansk Oblast
    Murmansk Oblast is a federal subject of Russia , located in the northwestern part of Russia. Its administrative center is the city of Murmansk.-Geography:...

     to roughly Yana
    Yana River
    The Yana River , is a river in Sakha in Russia, located between the Lena to the west and the Indigirka to the east.It is 872 km in length. The area of its basin is 238,000 km², whilst its annual discharge totals approximately . Most of this discharge occurs in May and June as the ice on the...

     and Indigirka River
    Indigirka River
    The Indigirka River is a river in the Sakha Republic in Russia between the Yana River and the Kolyma River. It is in length. The area of its basin is 360,000 km²...

    s, Siberia
    Siberia
    Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

    . It is completely migratory, and travels south in winter as far as South Asia
    South Asia
    South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

     and sub-Saharan Africa
    Sub-Saharan Africa
    Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

    . It is often seen around wetland habitats. It is paler than peregrinus, especially on the crown. Males weigh 588 to 740 g (1.3 to 1.6 lb), while females weigh 925 to 1333 g (2 to 2.9 lb).

  • Falco peregrinus cassini, described by Sharpe in 1873, is also known as the Austral Peregrine Falcon. It includes kreyenborgi, the Pallid Falcon a leucistic
    Leucistic
    Leucism is a condition characterized by reduced pigmentation in animals and humans. Unlike albinism, it is caused by a reduction in all types of skin pigment, not just melanin.- Details :...

     morph occurring in southernmost South America, which was long believed to be a distinct species. Its range includes South America from Ecuador
    Ecuador
    Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

     through Bolivia
    Bolivia
    Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

    , northern Argentina
    Argentina
    Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

     and Chile
    Chile
    Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

     to Tierra del Fuego
    Tierra del Fuego
    Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, across the Strait of Magellan. The archipelago consists of a main island Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego divided between Chile and Argentina with an area of , and a group of smaller islands including Cape...

     and Falkland Islands
    Falkland Islands
    The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about from the coast of mainland South America. The archipelago consists of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley, is on East Falkland...

    . It is non-migratory. It is similar to nominate, but slightly smaller with a black ear region. The variation kreyenborgi is medium grey above, has little barring below, and has a head pattern like the Saker Falcon
    Saker Falcon
    The Saker Falcon is a very large falcon. This species breeds from eastern Europe eastwards across Asia to Manchuria. It is mainly migratory except in the southernmost parts of its range, wintering in Ethiopia, the Arabian peninsula, northern Pakistan and western China...

    , but the ear region is white.

  • Falco peregrinus ernesti, described by Sharpe in 1894, is found from Indonesia
    Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

     to Philippines
    Philippines
    The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

     and south to Papua New Guinea
    Papua New Guinea
    Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

     and the nearby Bismarck Archipelago
    Bismarck Archipelago
    The Bismarck Archipelago is a group of islands off the northeastern coast of New Guinea in the western Pacific Ocean and is part of the Islands Region of Papua New Guinea.-History:...

    . Its geographical separation from nesiotes requires confirmation. It is non-migratory. It differs from the nominate subspecies in the very dark, dense barring on its underside and its black ear coverts.

  • Falco peregrinus furuitii, described by Momiyama in 1927, is found on the Izu
    Izu Islands
    The are a group of volcanic islands stretching south and east from the Izu Peninsula of Honshū, Japan. Administratively, they form two towns and six villages; all part of Tokyo. The largest is Izu Ōshima, usually called simply Ōshima....

     and Ogasawara Islands
    Ogasawara Islands
    The Bonin Islands, known in Japan as the are an archipelago of over 30 subtropical and tropical islands, some directly south of Tokyo, Japan. Administratively, they are part of Ogasawara Municipality of Ogasawara Subprefecture, Tokyo...

     south of Honshū
    Honshu
    is the largest island of Japan. The nation's main island, it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait...

    , Japan. It is non-migratory. It is very rare, and may only remain on a single island. It is a dark form, resembling pealei in color, but darker, especially on tail.

  • Falco peregrinus japonensis, described by Gmelin
    Johann Friedrich Gmelin
    Johann Friedrich Gmelin was a German naturalist, botanist, entomologist, herpetologist and malacologist.- Education :Johann Friedrich Gmelin was born as the eldest son of Philipp Friedrich Gmelin in 1748 in Tübingen...

     in 1788, includes kleinschmidti and pleskei, and harterti, and seems to refer to intergrades with calidus. It is found from northeast Siberia
    Siberia
    Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

     to Kamchatka (though it is possibly replaced by pealei on the coast there) and Japan
    Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

    . Northern populations are migratory, while those of Japan are resident. It is similar to peregrinus, but the young are even darker than those of anatum.


  • Falco peregrinus macropus, described by Swainson in 1837, is the Australian Peregrine Falcon. It is found in Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

     in all regions except the southwest. It is non-migratory. It is similar to brookei in appearance, but is slightly smaller and the ear region is entirely black. The feet are proportionally large.

  • Falco peregrinus madens, described by Ripley
    Sidney Dillon Ripley
    Sidney Dillon Ripley was an American ornithologist and wildlife conservationist. He served as Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution from 1964-1984.-Biography:...

     and Watson in 1963, is unusual in having some sexual dichromatism. If the Barbary Falcon (see below) is considered a distinct species, it is sometimes placed therein. It is found in the Cape Verde Islands, and is non-migratory; it is endangered with only six to eight pairs surviving. Males have a rufous wash on crown, nape, ears and back; underside conspicuously washed pinkish-brown. Females are tinged rich brown overall, especially on the crown and nape.


  • Falco peregrinus minor, first described by Bonaparte in 1850. It was formerly often perconfusus. It is sparsely and patchily distributed throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa
    Sub-Saharan Africa
    Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

     and widespread in Southern Africa
    Southern Africa
    Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. Within the region are numerous territories, including the Republic of South Africa ; nowadays, the simpler term South Africa is generally reserved for the country in English.-UN...

    . It apparently reaches north along the Atlantic coast as far as Morocco
    Morocco
    Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

    . It is non-migratory, and small and dark.

  • Falco peregrinus nesiotes, described by Mayr
    Ernst Mayr
    Ernst Walter Mayr was one of the 20th century's leading evolutionary biologists. He was also a renowned taxonomist, tropical explorer, ornithologist, historian of science, and naturalist...

     in 1941, is found in Fiji
    Fiji
    Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

     and probably also Vanuatu
    Vanuatu
    Vanuatu , officially the Republic of Vanuatu , is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is some east of northern Australia, northeast of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, and southeast of the Solomon Islands, near New Guinea.Vanuatu was...

     and New Caledonia
    New Caledonia
    New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, east of Australia and about from Metropolitan France. The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of...

    . It is non-migratory.


  • Falco peregrinus pealei, described by Ridgway in 1873, is also known as Peale's Falcon
    Peale's Falcon
    Peale's Falcon, Falco peregrinus pealei, is a subspecies of the Peregrine Falcon. This race was first identified by the ornithologist Robert Ridgway in 1873, named in honor of Titian Ramsay Peale. These birds are the largest subspecies of Peregrines anywhere in the world. Measurements for male F....

    , and includes rudolfi. It is found in the Pacific Northwest
    Pacific Northwest
    The Pacific Northwest is a region in northwestern North America, bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Definitions of the region vary and there is no commonly agreed upon boundary, even among Pacific Northwesterners. A common concept of the...

     of North America, northwards from the Puget Sound
    Puget Sound
    Puget Sound is a sound in the U.S. state of Washington. It is a complex estuarine system of interconnected marine waterways and basins, with one major and one minor connection to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Pacific Ocean — Admiralty Inlet being the major connection and...

     along the British Columbia
    British Columbia
    British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

     coast (including the Queen Charlotte Islands
    Queen Charlotte Islands
    Haida Gwaii , formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands, is an archipelago on the North Coast of British Columbia, Canada. Haida Gwaii consists of two main islands: Graham Island in the north, and Moresby Island in the south, along with approximately 150 smaller islands with a total landmass of...

    ), along the Gulf of Alaska
    Gulf of Alaska
    The Gulf of Alaska is an arm of the Pacific Ocean defined by the curve of the southern coast of Alaska, stretching from the Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak Island in the west to the Alexander Archipelago in the east, where Glacier Bay and the Inside Passage are found.The entire shoreline of the Gulf is...

     and the Aleutian Islands to the far eastern Bering Sea
    Bering Sea
    The Bering Sea is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean. It comprises a deep water basin, which then rises through a narrow slope into the shallower water above the continental shelves....

     coast of Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    , and may also occur on the Kuril Islands
    Kuril Islands
    The Kuril Islands , in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater...

     and the coasts of Kamchatka. It is non-migratory. It is the largest subspecies, and it looks like an oversized and darker tundrius or like a strongly barred and large anatum. The bill is very wide. Juveniles occasionally have pale crowns. Males weigh 700 to 1000 g (1.5 to 2.2 lb), while females weigh 1000 to 1500 g (2.2 to 3.3 lb).

  • Falco peregrinus pelegrinoides, first described by Temminck
    Coenraad Jacob Temminck
    Coenraad Jacob Temminck was a Dutch aristocrat and zoologist.Temminck was the first director of the National Natural History Museum at Leiden from 1820 until his death. His Manuel d'ornithologie, ou Tableau systematique des oiseaux qui se trouvent en Europe was the standard work on European birds...

     in 1829, is found in the Canary Islands
    Canary Islands
    The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

     through north Africa and the Near East
    Near East
    The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...

     to Mesopotamia
    Mesopotamia
    Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

    . It is most similar to brookei, but is markedly paler above, with a rusty neck, and is a light buff with reduced barring below. It is smaller than the nominate subspecies; females weigh around 610 grams (1.3 lb).

  • Falco peregrinus peregrinator, described by Sundevall
    Carl Jakob Sundevall
    Carl Jakob Sundevall was a Swedish zoologist.Sundevall studied at Lund University, where he became a Ph.D. in 1823. After traveling to East Asia, he studied medicine, graduating as Doctor of Medicine in 1830....

     in 1837, is known as the Indian Peregrine Falcon, Black Shaheen, Indian Shaheen or Shaheen Falcon
    Shaheen Falcon
    The Shaheen Falcon , also known as the Indian Peregrine Falcon, Black Shaheen, Indian Shaheen, or simply the Shaheen, is a non-migratory subspecies of the Peregrine Falcon found mainly on the Indian subcontinent and the nearby island of Sri Lanka.-Taxonomy:The taxon was formally described by Carl...

    . It was formerly sometimes known as Falco atriceps or Falco shaheen. Its range includes South Asia
    South Asia
    South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

     from Pakistan
    Pakistan
    Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

     across India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

     and Bangladesh
    Bangladesh
    Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

     to Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

     and Southeastern China
    China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

    . In India, the Shaheen is reported from all states except Uttar Pradesh
    Uttar Pradesh
    Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

    , mainly from rocky and hilly regions. The Shaheen is also reported from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal
    Bay of Bengal
    The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

    . They have a clutch size of 3 to 4 eggs, with the chicks fledging time of 48 days with an average nesting success of 1.32 chicks per nest. In India, apart from nesting on cliffs, it has also been recorded as nesting on man-made structures such as buildings and cellphone transmission towers. A population estimate of 40 breeding pairs in Sri Lanka was made in 1996. It is non-migratory, and is small and dark, with rufous underparts. In Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

     this species is found to favour the higher hills while the migrant calidus is more often seen along the coast.

  • Falco peregrinus peregrinus, the nominate (first-named) subspecies, described by Tunstall
    Marmaduke Tunstall
    Marmaduke Tunstall was an English ornithologist and collector. He was the author of Ornithologica Britannica , probably the first British work to use binomial nomenclature....

     in 1771, breeds over much of temperate Eurasia
    Eurasia
    Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

     between the tundra
    Tundra
    In physical geography, tundra is a biome where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The term tundra comes through Russian тундра from the Kildin Sami word tūndâr "uplands," "treeless mountain tract." There are three types of tundra: Arctic tundra, alpine...

     in the north and the Pyrenees
    Pyrenees
    The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

    , Mediterranean region and Alpide belt
    Alpide belt
    The Alpide belt is a mountain range which extends along the southern margin of Eurasia. Stretching from Java to Sumatra through the Himalayas, the Mediterranean, and out into the Atlantic, it includes the Alps, the Carpathians, the mountains of Asia Minor and Iran, the Hindu Kush, the Himalayas,...

     in the south. It is mainly non-migratory in Europe, but migratory
    Bird migration
    Bird migration is the regular seasonal journey undertaken by many species of birds. Bird movements include those made in response to changes in food availability, habitat or weather. Sometimes, journeys are not termed "true migration" because they are irregular or in only one direction...

     in Scandinavia and Asia. Males weigh 580 to 750 g (1.3 to 1.7 lb), while females weigh 925 to 1300 g (2 to 2.9 lb). It includes brevirostris, germanicus, rhenanus, and riphaeus.

  • Falco peregrinus radama, described by Hartlaub
    Gustav Hartlaub
    Karel Johan Gustav Hartlaub was a German physician and ornithologist.Hartlaub was born in Bremen, and studied at Bonn and Berlin before graduating in medicine at Göttingen. In 1840, he began to study and collect exotic birds, which he donated to the Bremen Natural History Museum. He described some...

     in 1861, is found in Madagascar
    Madagascar
    The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

     and Comoros
    Comoros
    The Comoros , officially the Union of the Comoros is an archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean, located off the eastern coast of Africa, on the northern end of the Mozambique Channel, between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar...

    . It is non-migratory.

  • Falco peregrinus submelanogenys, described by Mathews
    Gregory Mathews
    Gregory Macalister Mathews CBE was an Australian amateur ornithologist.Mathews made his fortune in mining shares, and moved to England around 1900....

     in 1912, is the Southwest Australian Peregrine Falcon. It is found in southwest Australia and is non-migratory.

  • Falco peregrinus tundrius, described by C.M. White in 1968, was at one time included in leucogenys It is found in the Arctic tundra of North America
    North America
    North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

     to Greenland
    Greenland
    Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

    , and migrates to wintering grounds in Central
    Central America
    Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

     and South America
    South America
    South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

    . Most vagrants that reach western Europe belong to this subspecies, which was previously united with anatum. It is the New World equivalent to calidus. It is smaller than anatum. It is also paler than anatum; most have a conspicuous white forehead and white in ear region, but the crown and "moustache" are very dark, unlike in calidus. Juveniles are browner, and less grey, than in calidus, and paler, sometimes almost sandy, than in anatum. Males weigh 500 to 700 g (1.1 to 1.5 lb), while females weigh 800 to 1100 g (1.8 to 2.4 lb).

Barbary Falcon


Two of the subspecies listed above (Falco peregrinus pelegrinoides and F. p. babylonicus) are often instead treated together as a distinct species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

, Falco pelegrinoides (Barbary Falcon
Barbary Falcon
The Barbary Falcon is a medium-sized falcon about the size of a crow. This bird of prey breeds in the Canary Islands and on the coasts of north Africa. It is mainly resident.-Description:...

), although they were included within F. peregrinus in the 1994 Handbook of the Birds of the World
Handbook of the Birds of the World
The Handbook of the Birds of the World is a multi-volume series produced by the Spanish publishing house Lynx Edicions. It is the first handbook to cover every known living species of bird. The series is edited by Josep del Hoyo, Andrew Elliott, Jordi Sargatal and David A Christie.So far, 15...

. These birds inhabit arid
Arid
A region is said to be arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or even preventing the growth and development of plant and animal life...

 regions from the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

 along the rim of the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

 through the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 to Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 and Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

.

Barbary Falcons have a red neck patch but otherwise differ in appearance from the Peregrine proper merely according to Gloger's Rule
Gloger's rule
Gloger's Rule is a zoological rule which states that within a species of endotherms, more heavily pigmented forms tend to be found in more humid environments, e.g. near the equator. It was named after the zoologist Constantin Wilhelm Lambert Gloger, who first remarked upon this phenomenon in 1833...

, relating pigmentation to environmental humidity
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

. The Barbary Falcon has a peculiar way of flying, beating only the outer part of its wings like fulmar
Fulmar
Fulmars are seabirds of the family Procellariidae. The family consists of two extant species and two that are extinct.-Taxonomy:As members of Procellaridae and then the order Procellariiformes, they share certain traits. First, they have nasal passages that attach to the upper bill called...

s sometimes do; this also occurs in the Peregrine, but less often and far less pronounced. The Barbary Falcon's shoulder
Shoulder
The human shoulder is made up of three bones: the clavicle , the scapula , and the humerus as well as associated muscles, ligaments and tendons. The articulations between the bones of the shoulder make up the shoulder joints. The major joint of the shoulder is the glenohumeral joint, which...

 and pelvis
Pelvis
In human anatomy, the pelvis is the lower part of the trunk, between the abdomen and the lower limbs .The pelvis includes several structures:...

 bones are stout by comparison with the Peregrine, and its feet are smaller. Barbary Falcons breed at different times of year than neighboring Peregrine Falcon subspecies, but there are no postzygotic reproduction barriers in place. There is a 0.6–0.7% genetic distance in the Peregine-Barbary Falcon ("peregrinoid") complex.

Another subspecies of Falco peregrinus, madens, has also sometimes been treated instead within a separately recognized F. pelegrinoides.

Ecology and behavior


The Peregrine Falcon lives mostly along mountain range
Mountain range
A mountain range is a single, large mass consisting of a succession of mountains or narrowly spaced mountain ridges, with or without peaks, closely related in position, direction, formation, and age; a component part of a mountain system or of a mountain chain...

s, river valley
River Valley
River Valley is the name of an urban planning area within the Central Area, Singapore's central business district.The River Valley Planning Area is defined by the region bounded by Orchard Boulevard, Devonshire Road and Eber Road to the north, Oxley Rise and Mohamed Sultan Road to the east, Martin...

s, coastlines, and increasingly in cities. In mild-winter regions, it is usually a permanent resident, and some individuals, especially adult males, will remain on the breeding territory. Only populations that breed in Arctic clime
Clime
The seven climes was a notion of dividing the Earth into zones in Classical Antiquity....

s typically migrate great distances during the northern winter.

The Peregrine Falcon is often stated to be the fastest animal on the planet in its hunting dive, the stoop, which involves soaring to a great height and then diving steeply at speeds commonly said to be over 320 km/h (198.8 mph), and hitting one wing of its prey so as not to harm itself on impact. The air pressure from a 200 mi/h dive could possibly damage a bird's lung
Lung
The lung is the essential respiration organ in many air-breathing animals, including most tetrapods, a few fish and a few snails. In mammals and the more complex life forms, the two lungs are located near the backbone on either side of the heart...

s, but small bony tubercles on a falcon's nostrils guide the powerful airflow away from the nostrils, enabling the bird to breathe more easily while diving by reducing the change in air pressure. To protect their eyes, the falcons use their nictitating membrane
Nictitating membrane
The nictitating membrane is a transparent or translucent third eyelid present in some animals that can be drawn across the eye for protection and to moisten it while maintaining visibility. Some reptiles, birds, and sharks have a full nictitating membrane; in many mammals, there is a small...

s (third eyelids) to spread tears and clear debris from their eyes while maintaining vision. A study testing the flight physics of an "ideal falcon" found a theoretical speed limit at 400 km/h (250 mph) for low altitude flight and 625 km/h (390 mph) for high altitude flight. In 2005, Ken Franklin recorded a falcon stooping at a top speed of 389 kilometre per hour. A video of one of the dives can be seen in this link.

The life span of Peregrine Falcons in the wild is up to 15.5 years. Mortality in the first year is 59–70%, declining to 25–32% annually in adults. Apart from such anthropogenic
Anthropogenic
Human impact on the environment or anthropogenic impact on the environment includes impacts on biophysical environments, biodiversity and other resources. The term anthropogenic designates an effect or object resulting from human activity. The term was first used in the technical sense by Russian...

 threats as collision with human-made objects, the Peregrine may be killed by large eagle
Eagle
Eagles are members of the bird family Accipitridae, and belong to several genera which are not necessarily closely related to each other. Most of the more than 60 species occur in Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just two species can be found in the United States and Canada, nine more in...

s or large owl
Owl
Owls are a group of birds that belong to the order Strigiformes, constituting 200 bird of prey species. Most are solitary and nocturnal, with some exceptions . Owls hunt mostly small mammals, insects, and other birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish...

s.

The Peregrine Falcon is host
Host (biology)
In biology, a host is an organism that harbors a parasite, or a mutual or commensal symbiont, typically providing nourishment and shelter. In botany, a host plant is one that supplies food resources and substrate for certain insects or other fauna...

 to a range of parasites
Parasitism
Parasitism is a type of symbiotic relationship between organisms of different species where one organism, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the other, the host. Traditionally parasite referred to organisms with lifestages that needed more than one host . These are now called macroparasites...

 and pathogen
Pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

s. It is a vector for Avipoxvirus
Avipoxvirus
Avipoxvirus is a member of the Poxviridae family. The Poxviridae family is the family of viruses which cause the victim organism to have poxes as a symptom. This pox virus is one that affects birds only. Poxviruses have generally large genomes, and other such examples include smallpox and monkeypox...

, Newcastle disease virus, Falconid herpesvirus 1 (and possibly other Herpesviridae
Herpesviridae
The Herpesviridae are a large family of DNA viruses that cause diseases in animals, including humans. The members of this family are also known as herpesviruses. The family name is derived from the Greek word herpein , referring to the latent, recurring infections typical of this group of viruses...

), and some mycoses and bacterial infections. Endoparasites include Plasmodium relictum (usually not causing malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

 in the Peregrine Falcon), Strigeidae trematodes, Serratospiculum amaculata (nematode
Nematode
The nematodes or roundworms are the most diverse phylum of pseudocoelomates, and one of the most diverse of all animals. Nematode species are very difficult to distinguish; over 28,000 have been described, of which over 16,000 are parasitic. It has been estimated that the total number of nematode...

), and tapeworms. Known Peregrine Falcon ectoparasites are chewing lice, Ceratophyllus garei (a flea
Flea
Flea is the common name for insects of the order Siphonaptera which are wingless insects with mouthparts adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood...

), and Hippoboscidae
Hippoboscidae
Hippoboscidae, the louse flies or keds are obligate parasites of mammals and birds. In this family there are winged species which can fly at least reasonably well, as well as others with vestigial or no wings which are flightless and highly apomorphic...

 flies (Icosta nigra, Ornithoctona erythrocephala).

Feeding



The Peregrine Falcon feeds almost exclusively on medium-sized birds such as pigeons and doves, waterfowl
Waterfowl
Waterfowl are certain wildfowl of the order Anseriformes, especially members of the family Anatidae, which includes ducks, geese, and swans....

, songbird
Songbird
A songbird is a bird belonging to the suborder Passeri of the perching birds . Another name that is sometimes seen as scientific or vernacular name is Oscines, from Latin oscen, "a songbird"...

s, and wader
Wader
Waders, called shorebirds in North America , are members of the order Charadriiformes, excluding the more marine web-footed seabird groups. The latter are the skuas , gulls , terns , skimmers , and auks...

s. Worldwide, it is estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 bird species (up to roughly a fifth of the world's bird species) are predated somewhere by these falcons. In North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, prey has varied in size from 3-g hummingbird
Hummingbird
Hummingbirds are birds that comprise the family Trochilidae. They are among the smallest of birds, most species measuring in the 7.5–13 cm range. Indeed, the smallest extant bird species is a hummingbird, the 5-cm Bee Hummingbird. They can hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings...

s to a 3.1-kg Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane
The Sandhill Crane is a large crane of North America and extreme northeastern Siberia. The common name of this bird references habitat like that at the Platte River, on the edge of Nebraska's Sandhills in the American Midwest...

 (killed by a peregrine in a swoop). Prey also include a small raptor, the American Kestrel
American Kestrel
The American Kestrel , sometimes colloquially known as the Sparrow Hawk, is a small falcon, and the only kestrel found in the Americas. It is the most common falcon in North America, and is found in a wide variety of habitats. At long, it is also the smallest falcon in North America...

. Other than bats taken at night, the Peregrine rarely hunts small mammals, but will on occasion take rat
Rat
Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents of the superfamily Muroidea. "True rats" are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans are the black rat, Rattus rattus, and the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus...

s, vole
Vole
A vole is a small rodent resembling a mouse but with a stouter body, a shorter hairy tail, a slightly rounder head, smaller ears and eyes, and differently formed molars . There are approximately 155 species of voles. They are sometimes known as meadow mice or field mice in North America...

s, hare
Hare
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares less than one year old are called leverets. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the hispid hare , and three species known as red rock hares .Hares are very fast-moving...

s, shrews, mice
Mouse
A mouse is a small mammal belonging to the order of rodents. The best known mouse species is the common house mouse . It is also a popular pet. In some places, certain kinds of field mice are also common. This rodent is eaten by large birds such as hawks and eagles...

 and squirrel
Squirrel
Squirrels belong to a large family of small or medium-sized rodents called the Sciuridae. The family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots , flying squirrels, and prairie dogs. Squirrels are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa and have been introduced to Australia...

s. Coastal populations of the large subspecies pealei feed almost exclusively on seabird
Seabird
Seabirds are birds that have adapted to life within the marine environment. While seabirds vary greatly in lifestyle, behaviour and physiology, they often exhibit striking convergent evolution, as the same environmental problems and feeding niches have resulted in similar adaptations...

s. In the Brazilian mangrove
Mangrove
Mangroves are various kinds of trees up to medium height and shrubs that grow in saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics – mainly between latitudes N and S...

 swamp of Cubatão, a wintering falcon of the subspecies tundrius was observed while successfully hunting a juvenile Scarlet Ibis
Scarlet Ibis
The Scarlet Ibis is a species of ibis that inhabits tropical South America and also Trinidad and Tobago. It is the national bird of Trinidad and is featured on the Trinidad and Tobago coat of arms along with Tobago's national bird, the Rufous-vented Chachalaca.-Taxonomy:This species is very...

. Insects and reptiles make up a small proportion of the diet, which varies greatly depending on what prey is available. In urban areas, the main component of the Peregrine's diet is the Rock
Rock Pigeon
The Rock Dove or Rock Pigeon, is a member of the bird family Columbidae . In common usage, this bird is often simply referred to as the "pigeon"....

 or Feral Pigeon
Feral Pigeon
Feral pigeons , also called city doves, flying rats, city pigeons or street pigeons, are derived from domestic pigeons that have returned to the wild. The domestic pigeon was originally bred from the wild Rock Pigeon, which naturally inhabits sea-cliffs and mountains. All three types readily...

, which comprise 80% or more of the dietary intake for peregrines in some cities. Other common city birds are also taken regularly, including Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove
The Mourning Dove is a member of the dove family . The bird is also called the Turtle Dove or the American Mourning Dove or Rain Dove, and formerly was known as the Carolina Pigeon or Carolina Turtledove. It is one of the most abundant and widespread of all North American birds...

s, Common Wood Pigeons, Common Swift
Common Swift
The Common Swift is a small bird, superficially similar to the Barn Swallow or House Martin. It is, however, completely unrelated to those passerine species, since swifts are in the separate order Apodiformes...

s, Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker
The Northern Flicker is a medium-sized member of the woodpecker family. It is native to most of North America, parts of Central America, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, and is one of the few woodpecker species that migrate. There are over 100 common names for the Northern Flicker...

s, Common Starlings, American Robin
American Robin
The American Robin or North American Robin is a migratory songbird of the thrush family. It is named after the European Robin because of its reddish-orange breast, though the two species are not closely related, with the European robin belonging to the flycatcher family...

s, Common Blackbirds, and corvids (such as magpie
Magpie
Magpies are passerine birds of the crow family, Corvidae.In Europe, "magpie" is often used by English speakers as a synonym for the European Magpie, as there are no other magpies in Europe outside Iberia...

s or Carrion
Carrion Crow
The Carrion Crow is a member of the passerine order of birds and the crow family which is native to western Europe and eastern Asia.-Taxonomy:...

, House
House Crow
thumb|300px|Bangalore, IndiaThe House Crow , also known as the Colombo Crow is a common bird of the Crow family that is of Asian origin but now found in many parts of the world, where they arrived assisted by shipping. It is between the Jackdaw and the Carrion Crow in size but is relatively...

 and American Crow
American Crow
The American Crow is a large passerine bird species of the family Corvidae. It is a common bird found throughout much of North America...

s).

The Peregrine Falcon hunts at dawn and dusk, when prey are most active, but also nocturnally in cities, particularly during migration periods when hunting at night may become prevalent. Nocturnal migrants taken by Peregrines include species as diverse as Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
The Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Coccyzus americanus, is a cuckoo. Common folk-names for this bird in the southern United States are Rain Crow and Storm Crow...

, Black-necked Grebe
Black-necked Grebe
The Black-necked Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis, known in North America as the Eared Grebe, is a member of the grebe family of water birds. It occurs on every continent except Australia and Antarctica.-Taxonomy:There are three subspecies:*P. n...

, Virginia Rail
Virginia Rail
The Virginia Rail, Rallus limicola, is a small waterbird, of the family Rallidae.Adults are mainly brown, darker on the back and crown, with orange-brown legs. They have long toes, a short tail and a long slim reddish bill...

 and Common Quail
Common Quail
The Common Quail, Coturnix coturnix, is a small bird in the pheasant family Phasianidae. It is widespread and is found in parts of Europe, .- Description :It is a small rotund bird, essentially streaked brown with...

. The Peregrine requires open space in order to hunt, and therefore often hunts over open water, marsh
Marsh
In geography, a marsh, or morass, is a type of wetland that is subject to frequent or continuous flood. Typically the water is shallow and features grasses, rushes, reeds, typhas, sedges, other herbaceous plants, and moss....

es, valley
Valley
In geology, a valley or dale is a depression with predominant extent in one direction. A very deep river valley may be called a canyon or gorge.The terms U-shaped and V-shaped are descriptive terms of geography to characterize the form of valleys...

s, fields, and tundra
Tundra
In physical geography, tundra is a biome where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The term tundra comes through Russian тундра from the Kildin Sami word tūndâr "uplands," "treeless mountain tract." There are three types of tundra: Arctic tundra, alpine...

, searching for prey either from a high perch or from the air. Once prey is spotted, it begins its stoop, folding back the tail and wings, with feet tucked. Prey is struck and captured in mid-air; the Peregrine Falcon strikes its prey with a clenched foot, stunning or killing it with the impact, then turns to catch it in mid-air. If its prey is too heavy to carry, a Peregrine will drop it to the ground and eat it there. Prey is plucked before consumption.

Reproduction



The Peregrine Falcon is sexually mature at the end of the first year of age, but in healthy populations they breed after two to three years of age. A pair mates for life and returns to the same nesting spot annually. The courtship flight includes a mix of aerial acrobatics, precise spirals, and steep dives. The male passes prey it has caught to the female in mid-air. To make this possible, the female actually flies upside-down to receive the food from the male's talons.

During the breeding season, the Peregrine Falcon is territorial; nesting pairs are usually more than 1 km (0.621372736649807 mi) apart, and often much farther, even in areas with large numbers of pairs. The distance between nests ensures sufficient food supply for pairs and their chicks. Within a breeding territory, a pair may have several nesting ledges; the number used by a pair can vary from one or two to seven in a 16 year period.

The Peregrine Falcon nests in a scrape, normally on cliff edges. The female chooses a nest site, where she scrapes a shallow hollow in the loose soil, sand, gravel, or dead vegetation in which to lay eggs. No nest materials are added. Cliff nests are generally located under an overhang, on ledges with vegetation, and south-facing sites are favored. In some regions, as in parts of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and on the west coast of Northern North America, large tree hollows are used for nesting. Before the demise of most European peregrines, a large population of peregrines in central and western Europe used the disused nests of other large birds. In remote, undisturbed areas such as the Arctic, steep slopes and even low rocks and mounds may be used as nest sites. In many parts of its range, Peregrines now also nest regularly on tall buildings or bridges; these human-made structures used for breeding closely resemble the natural cliff ledges that the Peregrine prefers for its nesting locations.

The pair defends the chosen nest site against other Peregrines, and often against raven
Raven
Raven is the common name given to several larger-bodied members of the genus Corvus—but in Europe and North America the Common Raven is normally implied...

s, heron
Heron
The herons are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae. There are 64 recognised species in this family. Some are called "egrets" or "bitterns" instead of "heron"....

s, and gull
Gull
Gulls are birds in the family Laridae. They are most closely related to the terns and only distantly related to auks, skimmers, and more distantly to the waders...

s, and if ground-nesting, also such mammals as fox
Fox
Fox is a common name for many species of omnivorous mammals belonging to the Canidae family. Foxes are small to medium-sized canids , characterized by possessing a long narrow snout, and a bushy tail .Members of about 37 species are referred to as foxes, of which only 12 species actually belong to...

es, wolverine
Wolverine
The wolverine, pronounced , Gulo gulo , also referred to as glutton, carcajou, skunk bear, or quickhatch, is the largest land-dwelling species of the family Mustelidae . It is a stocky and muscular carnivore, more closely resembling a small bear than other mustelids...

s, felids, bear
Bear
Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern...

s and wolves
Gray Wolf
The gray wolf , also known as the wolf, is the largest extant wild member of the Canidae family...

. Both nests and (less frequently) adults are predated by larger-bodied raptorial birds like eagle
Eagle
Eagles are members of the bird family Accipitridae, and belong to several genera which are not necessarily closely related to each other. Most of the more than 60 species occur in Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just two species can be found in the United States and Canada, nine more in...

s, large owl
Horned owl
The American horned owls and the Old World eagle-owls make up the genus Bubo, at least as traditionally described. This genus, depending on definition, contains about one or two dozen species of typical owls and is found in many parts of the world. Some of the largest living Strigiformes are in...

s, or Gyrfalcon
Gyrfalcon
The Gyrfalcon — Falco rusticolus — is the largest of the falcon species. The Gyrfalcon breeds on Arctic coasts and the islands of North America, Europe, and Asia. It is mainly resident there also, but some Gyrfalcons disperse more widely after the breeding season, or in winter.Individual vagrancy...

s. Peregrines defending their nests have managed to kill raptors as large as Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle
The Golden Eagle is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. Once widespread across the Holarctic, it has disappeared from many of the more heavily populated areas...

s and Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle
The Bald Eagle is a bird of prey found in North America. It is the national bird and symbol of the United States of America. This sea eagle has two known sub-species and forms a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle...

s (both of which they normally avoid as potential predators) that have come close to the nest.
The date of egg-laying varies according to locality, but is generally from February to March in the Northern Hemisphere
Northern Hemisphere
The Northern Hemisphere is the half of a planet that is north of its equator—the word hemisphere literally means “half sphere”. It is also that half of the celestial sphere north of the celestial equator...

, and from July to August in the Southern Hemisphere
Southern Hemisphere
The Southern Hemisphere is the part of Earth that lies south of the equator. The word hemisphere literally means 'half ball' or "half sphere"...

, although the Australian subspecies macropus may breed as late as November, and equator
Equator
An equator is the intersection of a sphere's surface with the plane perpendicular to the sphere's axis of rotation and containing the sphere's center of mass....

ial populations may nest anytime between June and December. If the eggs are lost early in the nesting season, the female usually lays another clutch, although this is extremely rare in the Arctic due to the short summer season. Generally three to four eggs, but sometimes as few as one or as many as five, are laid in the scrape. The eggs are white to buff with red or brown markings. They are incubated for 29 to 33 days, mainly by the female, with the male also helping with the incubation of the eggs during the day, but only the female incubating them at night. The average number of young found in nests is 2.5, and the average number that fledge is about 1.5, due to the occasional production of infertile eggs and various natural losses of nestlings.

After hatching, the chicks (called "eyases") are covered with creamy-white down and have disproportionately large feet. The male (called the "tiercel") and the female (simply called the "falcon") both leave the nest to gather prey to feed the young. The hunting territory of the parents can extend a radius of 19 to 24 km (12–15 miles) from the nest site. Chicks fledge
Fledge
Fledge is the stage in a young bird's life when the feathers and wing muscles are sufficiently developed for flight. It also describes the act of a chick's parents raising it to a fully grown state...

 42 to 46 days after hatching, and remain dependent on their parents for up to two months.

Falconry


The Peregrine Falcon has been used in falconry
Falconry
Falconry is "the taking of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained raptor". There are two traditional terms used to describe a person involved in falconry: a falconer flies a falcon; an austringer flies a hawk or an eagle...

 for more than 3,000 years, beginning with nomads in central Asia. Due to its ability to dive at high speeds, it is highly sought-after and generally used by experienced falconers. Peregrine Falcons are also occasionally used to scare away birds at airports to reduce the risk of bird-plane strikes
Bird strike
A bird strike—sometimes called birdstrike, avian ingestion , bird hit, or BASH —is a collision between an airborne animal and a man-made vehicle, especially aircraft...

, improving air-traffic safety, and were used to intercept homing pigeons during World War II.

Until 2004 nearly all Peregrines used for falconry in the U.S. were captive-bred from the progeny of falcons taken before the U. S. Endangered Species Act
Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is one of the dozens of United States environmental laws passed in the 1970s. Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973, it was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and...

 was enacted and from those few infusions of wild genes available from Canada and special circumstances. Peregrine Falcons were removed from the United States' endangered species list in 1999 due largely to the effort and knowledge of falconers in collaboration with the Peregrine Fund and state and federal agencies – through a technique called hacking
Hack (falconry)
Hacking is a training method that helps young falcons reach their hunting potential by giving them exercise and experience. This technique is used to prepare the falcon to become an independent hunter. The sequence of the procedure includes captivity, releasing, flight, and either the falcon will...

. Finally, after years of close work with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, a limited take of wild Peregrines was allowed in 2004, the first wild Peregrines taken specifically for falconry in over 30 years. Since Peregrine eggs and chicks are still often targeted by illegal collectors, it is common practice not to publicize unprotected nest locations.

Captive breeding


Peregrine Falcons have been successfully bred in captivity, both for falconry
Falconry
Falconry is "the taking of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained raptor". There are two traditional terms used to describe a person involved in falconry: a falconer flies a falcon; an austringer flies a hawk or an eagle...

 and for release back into the wild.

The first successful captive breeding of peregrine falcons in North America occurred in the early 1970s by The Peregrine Fund
The Peregrine Fund
The Peregrine Fund is a non-profit organization founded in 1970 that conserves threatened and endangered birds of prey. The successful recovery in the United States of the Peregrine Falcon, which was removed from the U.S. Endangered Species List in 1999 , enabled the organization to expand its...

, professor and falconer Heinz Meng, and other private falconer/breeders such as Dave Jamieson and Les Boyd who bred the first peregrines by means of artificial insemination. In Great Britain, falconer Phillip Glasier of the Falconry Centre in Newent, Gloucestershire, was successful in obtaining young from more than 20 species of captive raptors. A cooperative effort began between various government agencies, non-government organizations, and falconers to supplement various wild raptor populations in peril. This effort was strongest in North America where significant private donations along with funding allocations through the Endangered Species Act
Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is one of the dozens of United States environmental laws passed in the 1970s. Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973, it was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and...

 of 1972 provided the means to continue the release of captive-bred Peregrines and various other raptors. By the mid-1980s, falconers had become self-sufficient as regards sources of birds to train and fly, in addition to the immensely important conservation benefits conferred by captive breeding.

Decline due to pesticides


The Peregrine Falcon became an endangered species because of the use of organochlorine pesticides, especially DDT
DDT
DDT is one of the most well-known synthetic insecticides. It is a chemical with a long, unique, and controversial history....

, during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Pesticide biomagnification
Biomagnification
Biomagnification, also known as bioamplification or biological magnification, is the increase in concentration of a substance that occurs in a food chain as a consequence of:* Persistence...

 caused organochlorine to build up in the falcons' fat tissues, reducing the amount of calcium in their eggshells. With thinner shells, fewer falcon eggs survived to hatching. In several parts of the world, such as the eastern United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, this species became extirpated
Local extinction
Local extinction, also known as extirpation, is the condition of a species which ceases to exist in the chosen geographic area of study, though it still exists elsewhere...

 (locally extinct) as a result.

Recovery efforts



In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, wildlife services in Peregrine Falcon recovery teams breed the species in captivity. The chicks are usually fed through a chute or with a hand puppet
Hand puppet
A hand puppet is a type of puppet that is controlled by the leg or face that occupies the interior of the puppet. Glove puppets are a variation of hand puppets...

 mimicking a Peregrine's head, so they cannot see to imprint
Imprinting (psychology)
Imprinting is the term used in psychology and ethology to describe any kind of phase-sensitive learning that is rapid and apparently independent of the consequences of behavior...

 on the human trainers. Then, when they are old enough, the rearing box is opened, allowing the bird to train its wings. As the fledgling gets stronger, feeding is reduced forcing the bird to learn to hunt. This procedure is called hacking back to the wild
Hack (falconry)
Hacking is a training method that helps young falcons reach their hunting potential by giving them exercise and experience. This technique is used to prepare the falcon to become an independent hunter. The sequence of the procedure includes captivity, releasing, flight, and either the falcon will...

. To release a captive-bred falcon, the bird is placed in a special cage at the top of a tower or cliff ledge for some days or so, allowing it to acclimate itself to its future environment.
Worldwide recovery efforts have been remarkably successful. The widespread restriction of DDT use eventually allowed released birds to breed successfully. The Peregrine Falcon was removed from the U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Endangered Species
Endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

 list on August 25, 1999.

Some controversy has existed over the origins of captive breeding stock used by The Peregrine Fund
The Peregrine Fund
The Peregrine Fund is a non-profit organization founded in 1970 that conserves threatened and endangered birds of prey. The successful recovery in the United States of the Peregrine Falcon, which was removed from the U.S. Endangered Species List in 1999 , enabled the organization to expand its...

 in the recovery of peregrine falcons throughout the contiguous United States. Several peregrine subspecies were included in the breeding stock, including birds of Eurasian origin. Due to the extirpation
Local extinction
Local extinction, also known as extirpation, is the condition of a species which ceases to exist in the chosen geographic area of study, though it still exists elsewhere...

 of the Eastern anatum (Falco peregrinus anatum), the near extirpation of the anatum in the Midwest, and the limited gene pool within North American breeding stock, the inclusion of non-native subspecies
Subspecies
Subspecies in biological classification, is either a taxonomic rank subordinate to species, ora taxonomic unit in that rank . A subspecies cannot be recognized in isolation: a species will either be recognized as having no subspecies at all or two or more, never just one...

 was justified to optimize the genetic diversity
Genetic diversity
Genetic diversity, the level of biodiversity, refers to the total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species. It is distinguished from genetic variability, which describes the tendency of genetic characteristics to vary....

 found within the species as a whole. Such strategies are common in endangered species re-introduction scenarios, where dramatic population declines result in a genetic bottleneck and the loss of genetic diversity
Genetic diversity
Genetic diversity, the level of biodiversity, refers to the total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species. It is distinguished from genetic variability, which describes the tendency of genetic characteristics to vary....

.

Current status


Populations of the Peregrine Falcon have bounced back in most parts of the world. In Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, there has been a recovery of populations since the crash of the 1960s. This has been greatly assisted by conservation and protection work led by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Bird Notes and News was first published in April 1903.The title changed to 'Bird Notes' in 1947. In the 1950s, there were four copies per year . Each volume covered two years, spread over three calendar years...

. The RSPB has estimated that there are 1,402 breeding pairs in the UK. Peregrines now breed in many mountainous and coastal areas, especially in the west and north, and nest in some urban areas, capitalising on the urban Feral Pigeon
Feral Pigeon
Feral pigeons , also called city doves, flying rats, city pigeons or street pigeons, are derived from domestic pigeons that have returned to the wild. The domestic pigeon was originally bred from the wild Rock Pigeon, which naturally inhabits sea-cliffs and mountains. All three types readily...

 populations for food. In many parts of the world Peregrine Falcons have adapted to urban habitats, nesting on cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

s, skyscraper
Skyscraper
A skyscraper is a tall, continuously habitable building of many stories, often designed for office and commercial use. There is no official definition or height above which a building may be classified as a skyscraper...

 window ledges, tower blocks, and the towers of suspension bridge
Suspension bridge
A suspension bridge is a type of bridge in which the deck is hung below suspension cables on vertical suspenders. Outside Tibet and Bhutan, where the first examples of this type of bridge were built in the 15th century, this type of bridge dates from the early 19th century...

s. Many of these nesting birds are encouraged, sometimes gathering media attention and often monitored by cameras.

Cultural significance



Due to its striking hunting technique, the Peregrine has often been associated with aggression and martial prowess. Native Americans of the Mississippian culture
Mississippian culture
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American culture that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from approximately 800 CE to 1500 CE, varying regionally....

 (c. 800–1500) used the Peregrine, along with other several birds of prey, in imagery as a symbol of "aerial (celestial) power" and buried men of high status in costumes associating to the ferocity of "raptorial" birds. In the late Middle Ages
Late Middle Ages
The Late Middle Ages was the period of European history generally comprising the 14th to the 16th century . The Late Middle Ages followed the High Middle Ages and preceded the onset of the early modern era ....

, the Western European nobility that used Peregrines for hunting, considered the bird associated with prince
Prince
Prince is a general term for a ruler, monarch or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family, and is a hereditary title in the nobility of some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess...

s in formal hierarchies of birds of prey, just below the Gyrfalcon
Gyrfalcon
The Gyrfalcon — Falco rusticolus — is the largest of the falcon species. The Gyrfalcon breeds on Arctic coasts and the islands of North America, Europe, and Asia. It is mainly resident there also, but some Gyrfalcons disperse more widely after the breeding season, or in winter.Individual vagrancy...

 associated with king
King
- Centers of population :* King, Ontario, CanadaIn USA:* King, Indiana* King, North Carolina* King, Lincoln County, Wisconsin* King, Waupaca County, Wisconsin* King County, Washington- Moving-image works :Television:...

s. It was considered "a royal bird, more armed by its courage than its claws". Terminology used by Peregrine breeders also used the Old French
Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...

 term gentil, "of noble birth; aristocratic", particularly with the Peregrine.

Since 1927, the Peregrine Falcon has been the official mascot of Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green State University, often referred to as Bowling Green or BGSU, is a public, coeducational research university located in Bowling Green, Ohio, United States. The institution was granted a charter in 1910 by the State of Ohio as part of the Lowry Bill, which also established Kent State...

 in Bowling Green, Ohio. The 2007 U.S. Idaho
Idaho
Idaho is a state in the Rocky Mountain area of the United States. The state's largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans". Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state....

 state quarter
50 State Quarters
The 50 State Quarters program is the release of a series of circulating commemorative coins by the United States Mint. Between 1999 and 2008, it featured each of the 50 U.S. states on unique designs for the reverse of the quarter....

 features a Peregrine Falcon.

Sources


  • American Ornithologists' Union
    American Ornithologists' Union
    The American Ornithologists' Union is an ornithological organization in the USA. Unlike the National Audubon Society, its members are primarily professional ornithologists rather than amateur birders...

     (1910): Check-list of North American Birds (Third Edition) American Ornithologists' Union.
  • Blondel, J. & Aronson, J. (1999): Biology and Wildlife of the Mediterranean Region: 136. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-850035-1
  • Beckstead, D. (2001) American Peregrine Falcon U.S. National Park Service Version of 2001-03-09. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
  • Brown, L. (1976): Birds of Prey: Their biology and ecology: 226. Hamlyn. ISBN 0-600-31306-9
  • Brodkorb, P. (1964): Catalogue of Fossil Birds: Part 2 (Anseriformes through Galliformes). Bulletin of the Florida State Museum 8(3): 195–335. PDF or JPEG fulltext
  • Couve, E. & Vidal, C. (2003): Aves de Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego y Península Antártcica. Editorial Fantástico Sur Birding Ltda. ISBN 956-8007-03-2
  • Dalgleish, R. C. (ed.) (2003): Birds and their associated Chewing Lice: Falconidae – Falcons, Caracaras. Version of 2003-08-30. Retrieved 2007-08-15.
  • Dewey, T. & Potter, M. (2002): Animal Diversity Web
    Animal Diversity Web
    Animal Diversity Web is an online database that collects the natural history, classification, species characteristics, conservation biology, and distribution information of thousands of species of animals...

    : Falco peregrinus. Retrieved 2007-08-12.
  • Döttlinger, H. (2002): The Black Shaheen Falcon. Books on Demand. ISBN 3-8311-3626-2
  • Döttlinger, H. & M. Nicholls (2005): Distribution and population trends of the 'black shaheen' Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus peregrinator and the eastern Peregrine Falcon F. p. calidus in Sri Lanka. Forktail 21: 133–138 PDF fulltext
  • Evans, Dafydd (1970) "The Nobility of Knight and Falcon" in Harper-Bill & Harvey (eds.) The Ideals and Practice of Medieval Knighthood, Volume III, The Boydell Press.
  • Griffiths, C. S. (1999): Phylogeny of the Falconidae inferred from molecular and morphological data. Auk 116(1): 116–130. PDF fulltext
  • Griffiths, C. S.; Barrowclough, G. F.; Groth, Jeff G. & Mertz, Lisa (2004): Phylogeny of the Falconidae (Aves): a comparison of the efficacy of morphological, mitochondrial, and nuclear data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 32(1): 101–109. (HTML abstract)
  • Groombridge, J. J.; Jones, C. G.; Bayes, M. K.; van Zyl, A.J.; Carrillo, J.; Nichols, R. A. & Bruford, M. W. (2002): A molecular phylogeny of African kestrels with reference to divergence across the Indian Ocean. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 25(2): 267–277. (HTML abstract)
  • Helbig, A.J.; Seibold, I.; Bednarek, W.; Brüning, H.; Gaucher, P.; Ristow, D.; Scharlau, W.; Schmidl, D. & Wink, M. (1994): Phylogenetic relationships among falcon species (genus Falco) according to DNA sequence variation of the cytochrome b gene. In: Meyburg, B.-U. & Chancellor, R.D. (eds.): Raptor conservation today: 593–599. PDF fulltext
  • Krech, Shepard (2009) Spirits of the Air: Birds & American Indians in the South. University of Georgia Press
  • Mayr, E.
    Ernst Mayr
    Ernst Walter Mayr was one of the 20th century's leading evolutionary biologists. He was also a renowned taxonomist, tropical explorer, ornithologist, historian of science, and naturalist...

     (1941):Birds collected during the Whitney South Sea Expedition. 45, Notes on New Guinea birds. 8. American Museum novitates 1133. PDF fulltext
  • Michigan Department of Natural Resources
    Michigan Department of Natural Resources
    The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is the agency of the state of Michigan charged with maintaining natural resources such as state parks, state forests, and recreation areas. It is governed by a director appointed by the Governor and accepted by the Natural Resources Commission...

     (2007): Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus). Retrieved 2007-08-12.
  • Mlíkovský, J. (2002): Cenozoic Birds of the World, Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press, Prague. ISBN 80-901105-3-8 PDF fulltext
  • Nittinger, F.; Haring, E.; Pinsker, W.; Wink, M. & Gamauf, A. (2005): Out of Africa? Phylogenetic relationships between Falco biarmicus and other hierofalcons (Aves Falconidae). Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 43(4): 321–331. PDF fulltext
  • Peters, J. L.; Mayr, E. & Cottrell, W. (1979): Check-list of Birds of the World. Museum of Comparative Zoology.
  • Peterson, R. T
    Roger Tory Peterson
    Roger Tory Peterson , was an American naturalist, ornithologist, artist, and educator, and held to be one of the founding inspirations for the 20th century environmental movement.-Background:...

     (1976): A Field Guide to the Birds of Texas: And Adjacent States. Houghton Mifflin Field Guides. ISBN 0-395-92138-4
  • Proctor, N. & Lynch, P. (1993): Manual of Ornithology: Avian Structure & Function. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-07619-3
  • Raidal, S. & Jaensch, S. (2000): Central nervous disease and blindness in Nankeen kestrels (Falco cenchroides) due to a novel Leucocytozoon-like infection. Avian Patholog 29(1): 51–56. PDF fulltext
  • Raidal, S.; Jaensch, S. & Ende, J. (1999): Preliminary Report of a Parasitic Infection of the Brain and Eyes of a Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus and Nankeen Kestrels Falco cenchroides in Western Australia. Emu
    Emu (journal)
    Emu, subtitled Austral Ornithology, is the peer-reviewed scientific journal of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union. The journal was established in 1901 and is the oldest ornithological journal published in Australia...

     99(4): 291–292.
  • Sielicki, J. & Mizera, T. (2009): Peregrine Falcon populations – status and perspectives in the 21st century. Turul Publishing. ISBN 978-83-920969-6-2
  • State of Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (2007): State of Queensland Environmental Protection Agency/Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. Retrieved 2007-10-15.
  • Tchernov, E. (1968): Peregrine Falcon and Purple Gallinule of late Pleistocene Age in the Sudanese Aswan Reservoir Area. Auk 85(1): 133. PDF fulltext
  • Towry, R. K. (1987): Wildlife habitat requirements. Pages 73–210 in R. L. Hoover & D. L. Wills (editors) Managing Forested Lands for Wildlife. Colorado Division of Wildlife, Denver, Colorado, USA.
  • Tucker, V. A. (1998): Gliding flight: speed and acceleration of ideal falcons during diving and pull out. Journal of Experimental Biology 201(3): 403–414. PDF fulltext
  • Vaurie, C. (1961): Systematic notes on Palearctic birds. No. 44, Falconidae, the genus Falco. (Part 1, Falco peregrinus and Falco pelegrinoides). American Museum Novitates 2035: 1–19. fulltext
  • White, Clayton M., Nancy J. Clum, Tom J. Cade and W. Grainger Hunt (2002): Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology. http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/660 Retrieved 2011-05-13.
  • Wink, M. & Sauer-Gürth, H. (2000): Advances in the molecular systematics of African raptors. In: Chancellor, R.D. & Meyburg, B.-U. (eds): Raptors at Risk: 135–147. WWGBP/Hancock House, Berlin/Blaine. PDF fulltext
  • Wink, M.; Seibold, I.; Lotfikhah, F. & Bednarek, W. (1998): Molecular systematics of holarctic raptors (Order Falconiformes). In: Chancellor, R.D., Meyburg, B.-U. & Ferrero, J.J. (eds.): Holarctic Birds of Prey: 29–48. Adenex & WWGBP. PDF fulltext
  • Wink, M.; Döttlinger, H.; Nicholls, M. K. & Sauer-Gürth, H. (2000): Phylogenetic relationships between Black Shaheen (Falco peregrinus peregrinator), Red-naped Shaheen (F. pelegrinoides babylonicus) and Peregrines (F. peregrinus). In: Chancellor, R.D. & Meyburg, B.-U. (eds): Raptors at Risk: 853–857. WWGBP/Hancock House, Berlin/Blaine. PDF fulltext
  • Wink, M.; Sauer-Gürth, H.; Ellis, D. & Kenward, R. (2004): Phylogenetic relationships in the Hierofalco complex (Saker-, Gyr-, Lanner-, Laggar Falcon). In: Chancellor, R.D. & Meyburg, B.-U. (eds.): Raptors Worldwide: 499–504. WWGBP, Berlin. PDF fulltext
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
    The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is an agency of the state of Wisconsin. Its purpose is to preserve, protect, manage and maintain the natural resources of the state. The WDNR has the authority to set policy for itself and to recommend regulations for approval by the State Legislature...

    (2003): Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus). Version of 2003-01-07. Retrieved 2007-08-13.


External links



Conservation organizations

Video and other media of Peregrines