Peregrine Falcon Facts, The Fastest Animal On The Planet!
On this Peregrine Falcon facts page. I will discuss Peregrine Falcon Info and falcon hawk differences. I will also describe the Peregrine Falcon Call. First however, here is a fantastic Peregrine Falcon Picture...
Peregrine Falcon Info:
- Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus
- Wingspan – 79-114cm
- Tail length – 13-19cm
- Overall length – 35-51cm
- Male – tiercel is 69% of female size
The Peregrine falcon, one of the most well known and loved Birds of prey, a medium to large Falcon this bird is one of the most spectacular hunters in the animal kingdom and also the fastest living thing on the planet. It is geographically speaking; the most widespread bird of prey although unfortunately it is scarce in many of these areas.
Mature adults have slate blue-gray backs and, as with all birds of prey, the female is larger and more powerful than the male. The peregrine varies a lot in size and appearance throughout its large range and now is thought to have 13 subspecies.
The one shown in the Peregrine Falcon Picture is the most commonly found in Europe (falco peregrinus). The Barbary Falcon which originates from Northern Africa and the Middle East is also often thought of as a subspecies.
Peregrine Falcon Facts - Falcon Call
The Peregrine Falcon call is very loud and piercing, a peregrine falcon call is generally short sharp blasts of “kak kak kak kak”, this is a peregrine falcon call for alarm. A nest can be heard from nearly two miles away. The peregrine falcon call from the eyass birds (chicks) is purposefully very loud and piercing to capture the attention of the parents.
The Peregrine Falcon is highly specialised. As it hunts primarily birds, it is equipped with many modifications to help it catch this illusive prey. Firstly, this falcon has extremely long toes; this gives it the flexibility and grasping prowess that it needs for catching prey in mid flight. The peregrine does not kill prey with its talons and lacks the power of the hawk, buzzard and Eagle families.
Instead, the peregrine, as with all falcons has a notched beak with which it can dislocate the spine of the prey.
Peregrine Falcon Facts-The Stoop
One of the most predominant falcon hawk differences is the peregrine’s “stoop”.
The “stoop” is the basis of all falcon attacks; although hawks do occasionally use this manoeuvre, it is far more spectacular with the falcon family. This manoeuvre has been perfected by the peregrine.
The falcon will often begin a hunt by circling upwards, “ringing” so as to gain the height advantage over the intended prey. It then performs the “stoop” which consists of a downwards corkscrew motion before folding its wings back into a teardrop shape and plummeting in a near vertical dive towards the prey. During this aerial attack, peregrine faclon facts have shown speeds of over 160 km/h and allegedly can reach speeds of over 400 km/h.
The peregrine will regularly stoop from heights of well over 1000m to achieve these staggering figures. Now that is some peregrine falcon info!
As the Falcon approaches the bottom of the stoop the wings open slightly to aid manoeuvrability and the peregrine either hits the prey directly breaking the target’s neck, or levels out behind the prey with a huge speed advantage “binding” to it in mid air.
If the peregrine misses on the first stoop, a series of smaller stoops will follow. Peregrine falcon facts shoes that this falcon can fly in straight flight at speeds of over 65 miles per hour and a fit peregrine falcon can keep this up for a considerable amount of time. As a result of this technique, the falcon has no need for sudden mid-air breaking.
This means all falcons are equipped with a short tail to minimise wind resistance. In fact the peregrine’s wing tips reach the end of the tail when its wings are folded. This is one of the main falcon hawk differences, Hawks hunt in confined spaces and so use their long fan-like tails to break quickly, and this helps them to be more agile in flight.
The peregrine, as with other falcons is equipped with long, scimitar shaped wings. It typically flies with stiff, shallow beats and short glides. It is quite an active flyer and does not often “still hunt”. (This is another falcon hawk difference). This design of wing helps it to soar when ringing up and looking for prey, minimising the surface area when stooping.
An interesting peregrine falcon fact is that they have a protective membrane, covering their eyes when travelling at extreme speeds. This protects the eyeball from being damaged by particles in the air. Peregrines will take on a large variety of prey, including most birds up to the size of geese as well as other raptors. They have also been known to take some small mammals and reptiles; these are usually taken from cliff faces.
Like all raptors they are very territorial and will not tolerate other raptors near their nests. Another Peregrine Falcon Fact is that when threatened, these fearless falcons have been known to attack and kill the much larger and far more powerful Red Tailed Hawk. Also the peregrine falcon call can be used to intimidate the intruder.
Here we have a falcon hawk similarity as the Goshawk has also a fearsome reputation for defending its nest against other predators.
Some more peregrine falcon info is that they nest in scrapes on cliff faces and often are found in Quarry sites. Another interesting Peregrine Falcon Fact is that they never nest in trees and prefer to perch on flat surfaces.
Peregrine Falcon Facts - Use In Falconry
The peregrine falcon is held in high regard by falconers. Along with Goshawks and Golden Eagles, The peregrine is one of the most revered hunters as far as falconry is concerned. In Falconry, the peregrine is flown in one of two ways...
Peregrine Falcon Facts - Pursuit Falconry
This is where the falcon is hooded, taken to a site and “slipped” at “quarry” (prey); this means the peregrine does not have its natural height advantage.
Pursuit falcons are often very fit and have to be able to ring up very quickly and perform many smaller stoops in succession. This tests the falcon’s agility and flight skills to the maximum and can be extremely exciting to watch. They can be trained by being stooped to a swung lure.
A lure is simply a horseshoe shaped leather tool to which the falconer attaches a pair of wings. The falcon then chases this as it is swung on a line. This is an easy way to get fitness levels up very quickly.
The downside to pursuit hawking is that often the flight will end in a tail chase and (because of the peregrine’s tenacity) can continue for enormous distances. A Peregrine will often chase quarry for many miles before either the quarry puts in to cover or is caught. So a telemetry (tracking system) is absolutely necessary.
When Pursuit hawking with a Peregrine, several different quarry species are possible. The most common of which are; rooks, crows, gulls, magpies and ducks. Tiercel (male) peregrines are not completely ideal when flown at gulls because of their size. When pursuit hawking, the quarry is rarely killed on impact and it is important to think of the falcon’s inevitable struggle when on the ground.
A gull can easily injure a small tiercel. The other reason that females are often the choice for pursuit hawking is that corvids (rooks and crows) will gang up on smaller falcons and will even attack the falcon when on the ground. They are less likely to attack females and if they do so, the female is better equipped to deal with it.
Having said this, tiercels generally have a wonderful temperament, and many falconers find them both easier to train and more rewarding. They can make excellent duck and magpie hawks and are often more graceful and stylish in flight than the bigger female.
Peregrine Falcon Facts - Game Hawking
The second way in which peregrines are flown is at upland game. This technique involves the falcon being trained to “wait on” very high overhead whilst the falconer and his dog locate and flush prey for the falcon. This means the falcon is ideally placed to put in a spectacular stoop and intersect the quarry.
The species flown consist of; grouse, partridge, pheasant, woodcock and snipe. This style of flying is considered by many “longwingers” as the absolute pinnacle of falconry. It is very time consuming as it takes your falcon a lot longer to get to the same point of fitness as a pursuit falcon. This is because of the training process. It is not possible to train a game hawk by stooping to a swung lure. This is because the falcon will very quickly become “lure bound”.
"Lure bound" is a one of the peregrine falcon facts. When the falcon learns that all it has to do to get food is to chase the lure. It then gets so attached to the lure that it will never go very high. This is disastrous for game hawking as the whole point is to train it to wait on as I have already mentioned.
This is often done by kite training. A small reward is attached to a kite and the falcon must ring up to get the reward. Each time the kite is raised a little higher. In this way the falcon learns that higher = better!
For game hawking, you must be able to dedicate at least two or three months solid for training you falcon. It also is very important that you have access to large areas of ideal land with plenty of quarry. Another important fact is that a good pointing dog is absolutely necessary.
If you do have the time, money, dedication and luck to be able to fly a peregrine at game and do it properly then there is surely nothing more exciting in the world of falconry.
Peregrine Falcon Facts - Hybridisation
Often in Falconry, different species of falcons are hybridised to gain the positive aspects from each of them. Peregrines are often the choice for parts of this hybridisation as their speed, grace and temperament are unparalleled. Some common peregrine hybrids are pereXsaker falcon, and pere-Gyr hybrids.
The saker falcon (falco cherrug) is a ferocious and fearless falcon and slightly larger and more powerful than the peregrine. This is a useful trait when having to tackle prey on the ground. The Gyr falcon is the largest of all falcons and extremely fast in straight flight, much faster and more powerful than the peregrine. When bred well, these hybrids can retain the good points from both species and can become formidable hunters.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my Peregrine Falcon facts page and I hope the peregrine falcon info I have provided has proved adequate. I am trying to get hold of a peregrine falcon call audio clip for the page very soon. In the meantime please feel free to browse the rest of the site or add your own story/comment below! I am adding more pages every day! :-)
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