Peregrine falcon
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Falconiformes
Family: Falconidae
Genus: Falco
Species: Falco peregrinus
The Peregrine Falcon, or Falco peregrinus, is the fastest-flying bird, diving at a speed of 350km/h (217mph). Peregrines have previously been rare, but they are now widespread and fairly common.
Falco pellegrino

adult peregrine falcon painting.


Peregrine falcon fledgling-4371

A juvenile takes flight.

The peregrine has white underparts with much black streaking, their wings and back are gray and they have a black stripe around their eyes and head. The peregrine keeps its wings very close when in flight, and its yellow legs are tucked backwards. The males are much smaller than the females.


juvenile peregrine falcon closeup


Peregrines are birds found throughout most of America, Australia, Asia, Europe and Africa, excluding the Sahara Desert.


The peregrine falcon is usually a solitary bird.


The peregrine often nests on cliff ledges or in abandoned crow nests. They lay 3 or 4 eggs which are creamy white with brown and red markings. Though there were previous eggshell problems with a DDT outbreak in California, most eggs are now healthy in the wild.


The peregrine falcon eats only birds, wich are caught in mid-air. The falcon dives from above and hits the bird to stun it, then kills it by breaking its neck. The peregrine falcon usually hunts birds from the size of a sparrow to the size of a pheasant or big duck (and sometimes eats smaller raptors, like kestrels or sparrowhawks), but peregrines were sighted attacking much bigger birds, like pelicans, if not to hunt them, to mob them. 
Falco piccione

falcon with pigeon


The Peregrine falcon is often aggresive towards raptors or corvids larger than it. It is seen chasing eagles, buzzards and kites away from its territory. This behaviour is called "mobbing". Corvids like crows, magpies and jackdaws mob peregrine falcons.

Falco aquila

peregrine falcon chasing a bald eagle away


Peregrines are usually apex predators, even if sometimes bigger birds of prey like golden eagles and eagle owls prey on them.