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Peregrine Falcon
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Peregrine Falcon

Facts of the Peregrine Falcon

Family:  Falconidae
Length:  Males 38 to 46 cm / Females 46 to 54 cm
Wing span: 109 to 117 cm
Weight:  Males 570 g / Females 910 g
Sexual Maturity:  2 years
Record Longevity:  18 years

Features of the Peregrine Falcon

  • Wings are long and pointed, ideal for swift flight.
  • Tail is long and narrow.
  • Crown is dark with a well-defined moustache mark called a « malar stripe ».
  • Hooked bill with a small tooth in the upper mandible.
  • Highly acute eyesight.

A bird of prey that occurs worldwide, the Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) can be found in 22 subspecies around the world.  Three subspecies are common throughout North America.  The subspecies anatum occurs in a wide area of Québec south of the treeline.

In most cases, the breeding populations in the more northerly regions (subspecies tundrius) migrate further to the south than the birds that breed in more southerly areas (subspecies anatum).


In spring, the female lays 3 or 4 eggs in a nest that is sometimes no more than a shallow hole in the ground.  The eggs are cream-coloured, mottled with brick-red or chestnut-coloured spots.  Both males and females incubate the eggs for a period of 28 to 35 days.  Baby falcons look like little balls of creamy white down at birth; both parents share the task of feeding them. The nestlings leave the nest when they’re 35 to 42 days old.  The parents teach them how to hunt by offering them prey they must grip onto while in flight.

A falconer's delight

The traditional art of training falcons, known as falconry, goes back some 3,000 years.  Peregrine falcons have always been the favourite species of falconers.  Only the female is referred to as a « falcon »; the male is called a « tiercel » because it is one third smaller than the female.

A spectacular hunter

The Peregrine falcon kills its quarry in midair strikes.  Tucking its legs into its tail and folding its wings, it strikes its victim with its talons as it dives in spectacular “stoops” that can reach speeds of more than 200 km/h.  Depending on the size of the prey, it will kill and seize it in flight or swoop down and pick it up from the ground.

In the southern forests of Québec, it feeds mainly on blue jays and red-winged blackbirds.  In urban areas, it eats pigeons and starlings.

Acrobatic courtship displays

When courting a female, the male will execute spectacular aerial acrobatics and also offer her food.  The female chooses the nesting site which the pair defends aggressively from intruders such as other falcons and raptors as well as ravens. Built on southern-facing ledges, the nest is usually at least 1 km away from neighbouring nests.

Attracted to cliffs

Steep cliffs and ledges are its preferred nesting sites.  In North America, they very rarely nest on the ground or in trees.  They will, however, nest in urban areas.  It is estimated that there are nesting Peregrine falcons in at least 25 major North-American cities.

A female once nested on the 20th floor of a Montréal skyscraper for 16 years.


Adult Peregrine falcons, their eggs and their young are preyed upon by raccoons, foxes, minks, ravens and crows, Great horned owls, red-tailed hawks and goshawks.

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faucon pèlerin

Par leo, 2015-04-27, 13h14

si vous avez parlez de ses habitude je serai ravi car votre site ma donner toute l'information importante pour mon projet sauf leurs habitude merci!!!!!!! :) Voici un site qui peut vous aider : http://www.oiseaux.net/oiseaux/faucon.pelerin.html L'équipe d'Humanima

Par Linda , 2009-07-26, 13h14

Bonjour, M. Carl Millier Vous proposez des activités. Ma question est celle-ci? Ou, Quand, et si je peux vous voir avec votre faucon je demeure a Rosemère. Merci d'avance, j'attends avec impatience d'avoir de vos nouvelles L'équipe d'Humanima: Bonjour, vous pouvez rejoindre Carl Millier directement sur son site web: www.faucon.biz

Par lala, 2009-03-31, 13h14

Pourriez vous écrire sur votre site c'est quoi l'ancêtre ou l'arbre genealogique du faucon pélerin??

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