The Falcon Bird species is the fastest of all the raptors. This page will include perigrine falcon video footage (the fastest animal on the planet :)) and a guide to information on many falcons and their training methods in falconry.
If you want information on the hawk bird species or the owl species please follow the links. Alternatively, you could check out my eagle facts page. Falcons, in their different forms can be found all over the world and vary hugely in size, behaviour, habitat and hunting techniques..
The largest of the Falcons is the magnificent Gyr falcon (falco rusticolus) with a wingspan of up to 140cm and the smallest of all the raptors is also a falcon...the white fronted falconet (microhierax latifrons) with a wingspan of 28cm. As with all raptors (except for some vulture species) the females are larger and more powerful than the males.
In this falcon bird video the flying prowess of this species is very clear. Falcons are the bird catchers of the skies. They are built for speed and have many adaptations for flight.
Firstly, they have short tails, this helps because of less wind resistance. It also means they are not so good at mid air braking as the hawks (which have long tails) but because of their hunting techniques (hunting in wide open areas) this does not matter. They also posess long grasping toes for holding on to birds and have long stiff pointed wings for strong fast beats.
One of the most interesting things about the falcon family is the stoop. When performing a stoop they assume a teardrop shape which maximises it's already aerodynamic form. This technique is most apparent with the peregrine falcon as seen in the falcon video.
Many falcons are flown by falconers nowadays.
All these wonderful birds are very different and require a lot of time, dedication and effort but if looked after well can be some of the most spectacular hunters to watch in the animal kingdom.
However as spectacular as they are, the prey species have had just as much time to evolve.
This falcon bird struggle between predator and prey is what nature is all about and in the sport of falconry, often the chases where the quarry escapes are the most exciting and rewarding..crows, pigeons, gulls, ducks, partridge and pheasants are all worthy opponents for the larger of the falcons.
The smaller falcons like merlins and male aplomado and even tiercel (male) peregrine falcons would find these prey species too much of a struggle.
A good example of this falcon bird evolutionary battle is between the peregrine falcon and pigeons. Wild peregrines will often catch pigeons but if the hunt developes into a tail-chase then the pigeon has a very good chance of escaping even the fastest animal in the world!..
A common pigeon has evolved to be able to out-manouvre the peregrine. In fact the pigeon is one of the fastest straight flight flyers of all the birds.
If the peregrine falcon misses its first stoop then the pigeon is quite capable of outstripping the raptor. This is a classic falcon bird gladitorial battle that is shown well in this next falcon video..
As you can see, birds of prey, although brilliant hunters are not always successful.
In falconry, falcons are flown normally to a swung lure, they can be trained to fly to the fist although because of their lack of air-brake ability, it is unfair to ask them to fly to the fist from longer distances and you may regret it!!
Falcons often kill the prey immediately on impact. If they hit the prey after putting in a sizeable stoop the speed at which they hit the prey can be astounding.
Falcons have brilliant coordination and if they miss on the stoop are able to bind to prey in mid air. This generally results in them having to deal with the prey once on the ground and falcons are equipped with notched beaks to enable them to dislocate the neck of prey. This minimises the risk of injury to the falcon and allows it to eat its fill in a shorter space of time. When you are a bird, the less time spent on the ground the better!..
The different species of falcon vary considerably in hunting techniques. The peregrine falcon, as I have already explained makes very good use of the stoop. Other falcons like the Gyr and Prarie falcons tend to prefer tail-chases.
The Gyr falcon is extremely fast and powerful in straight flight and can even put peregrines to shame..also it does not need the impact from a stoop so much because of its size and power.
It is quite capable of overpowering the prey on the ground. Saker falcons often fly closer to the ground and also quite often like to tail-chase. They can be very aggressive and are totally fearless, although smaller than the gyr they often make up for it in spirit.
Falcons are often hybridised by breeders. This is to gain the good traits from both species. Some common hybrids flown today are; Peregrine-Gyr, Gyr-Saker, peregrine-lanner, Gyr-Barbary and Peregrine-saker.
This concludes my falcon page. I am always in the process of uploading more pages on specific falcon species so please feel free to browse..:)
Also please upload you own falconry experince or thoughts below on the submit your own page. I will then upload it on to the site for you! :) Its very easy to do..