Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcons are the fastest animals on earth, diving at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour. They are found on every continent except Antarctica. These amazing birds have made a successful comeback after DDT (a pesticide) almost eliminated the species from the continental United States. Bird Alliance of Oregon played a role in their recovery in Oregon and they were removed from the state endangered species list in 2007.

Peregrine Falcon, photo by Mick Thompson

Size & Shape: 16″, wingspan 43″. Sleek, powerfully built, crow sized falcon with long wings reaching tail tip when perched, sharply pointed in flight.

Color: Gray above, dark barring below, light gown on chest, dark head, variable salmon-colored or whitish bib.

Behavior: Catches birds in mid-air, making spectacular dives at speeds over 200 miles per hour. Prey ranges from songbirds to ducks, Rock Pigeons, shorebirds favored. Nest on bare ledge, bridges in urban areas, fiercely defends territory.

Habitat: Open areas, rivers, lakes, wetlands; nests on buildings, bridges, cliffs, other tall structures.

Field Marks: Black mustache mark on face, long pointed wings, dark barring under wings, below breast.

Songs & Calls: Listen here.

Fun Facts: Peregrine Falcons can reach speeds up to 200 miles per hour when diving to capture prey! This makes them the fastest bird on earth.

Scientific Name: Falco peregrinus