Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Birds

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Description

Peregrine Falcons are characterised by a white breast, white underside with dark bars, blue-grey upperparts, a yellow bill-base and a yellow eye-ring. They also have black lobes resembling a moustache on the side of the face and a white cheek patch. The juvenile is browner than the adult. The male is approximately 40 cm and weighs up to 750 g. The female is larger and weighs up to 1.3 kg.When hunting at dawn and dusk, the Peregrine Falcon reaches faster speeds diving than any other animal in the world, going over 320km/h, hitting only one wing of its prey to not harm itself on impact.

Habitat

The southern population of Peregrine Falcons breeds in mountains and on coastal cliffs. After breeding season it moves to open terrain and coasts. Some Peregrine Falcons also hunt and nest close to urban areas, such as the hills around Athens.

Diet

Peregrine Falcons prey on birds of medium size, such as warblers, pigeons, crows, ducks and grouse, depending on the region. Those living in urban areas prey largely on pigeons and starlings, which are very numerous in southern and central Europe, often forming huge flocks of thousands of birds.

Protection status

This species is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List 

Interesting Facts

The Peregrine Falcon has been used in falconry for over 3,000 years which began with nomads in central Asia due to its athleticism, eagerness to hunt, and disposition that leads to it being one of the easier falcons to train.In the late Middle Ages, the Western European nobility that use Peregrine Falcons’ for hunting, were often associated with princes in formal hierarchies, which was just below the gyrfalcon, associated with kings, as ‘a royal bird. It was more armed by its courage than its claws’.

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