peregrine falcon

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falcon, common name for members of the Falconidae, a heterogeneous family of long-winged birds of prey similar to the hawks but genetically more closely related to the parrots and other birds. True falcons and their close relatives (genus Falco) range in size from the 61-2-in. (16.5-cm) falconet to the 24-in. (60-cm) gyrfalcon, and in habits from the swift merlin to the sluggish caracara. True falcons, distinguished by their notched beaks, are widely distributed. In flight their wingbeats are rapid and powerful, and they swoop hundreds of feet at speeds of up to 200 mph (320 kph) to capture their prey—chiefly birds and small mammals. They kill cleanly, usually breaking the back of their victim. Some members of the falcon family eat insects; the long-legged caracaras (found in South America, with one species, the northern, or crested, caracara ranging to the extreme S United States) feed also on carrion and sometimes rob other birds of their prey. The cosmopolitan peregrine falcon and the gyrfalcon of the arctic tundra have been much used in falconry. The commonest and smallest American falcon is the American kestrel, or sparrow hawk, F. sparverius (related to the European kestrel). Others are the merlin, or pigeon hawk (related to the European merlin), and the prairie falcon. Falcons build no nests but lay their eggs on the ground, on cliff ledges, or in the abandoned nests of hawks and crows. Falcons are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Falconiformes.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Peregrine Falcon


(Falco peregrinus), a bird of the order Falconiformes having a body length of 40–50 cm and a weight of 500–1,000 g. The females are larger than the males. The cap is slate-blue or reddish yellow; the back ranges in color from light slate-blue to almost black. The underparts are mottled—with small, sparse markings or large markings that almost merge into one another. The wings are long and pointed.

The peregrine falcon is widely distributed; it is absent in Antarctica and most of South America. In the USSR the bird’s range extends from the tundra to the southern borders; during migrations the bird enters the lowland steppes. The peregrine falcon nests in trees (occupying the former nests of other birds), on rocky ledges, on the ground, or, occasionally, in buildings (towers, belfries). A clutch contains three or four brick-brown eggs, which are incubated for 28 days. The young leave the nest in five or six weeks. The peregrine falcon preys mainly on birds, which it seizes in the air. It dives at velocities reaching 70–100 m per sec.

In some places the peregrine falcon is used as a hunting bird. The species is becoming rare. In the United States, where the bird has disappeared from the eastern states, attempts are being made to raise the peregrine falcon in captivity to restore the population.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

peregrine falcon

a falcon, Falco peregrinus, occurring in most parts of the world, having a dark plumage on the back and wings and lighter underparts
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Multi-season occupancy models identify biotic and abiotic factors influencing a recovering Arctic peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus tundrius population.
Breeding density, habitat selection and reproductive rates of the Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus in Alava (northern Spain).
We report a case of air sac nematode (Serratospiculum tendo) infection in an adult male Austral peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus cassini) admitted to a rehabilitation center in Mendoza Province, Argentina, in 2017.
The present study documents the northernmost observation of ornithophily yet reported in North America, as well as the first observations of nestling mortality due to biting black flies in the Arctic Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus tundrius).
Estas especies fueron las siguientes, con su categoria de riesgo, (P) Peligro de extincion, (A) Amenazada y (Pr) Sujetas proteccion especial: Mycteria americana (P), Buteogallus anthracinus (Pr), Anasplatyrhynchos diazi (A), Aratinga astee (Pr), Nyctanassa violacea (A), Falco femoralis (A) y Falco peregrinus (Pr).
This year's release was carried out between May 16 and 18, 2013 and included a total of 46 Peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) and 47 Saker falcons (Falco cherrug) which were released in Kurchum, Eastern Kazakhstan, for the fifth consecutive year.
Carson set the stage for the debut of our Endangered Species Program in the early 1970s, and its inaugural cast of DDT-threatened "poster children" now pulled back from the brink of extinction--brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis), peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus anatum), and American bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) among them.
Peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) are versatile, generalist predators, well known for hunting a broad array of species using diverse foraging behaviors, and often achieving high levels of foraging success (e.g., Monneret, 1973; Rogers and Leatherwood, 1981; Smith, 1981; Tucker, 1981; Cade, 1982; Ratcliffe, 1993).
Yna, allan o nunlle dyma hebog tramor (peregrine, Falco peregrinus) yn hedfan dros yr ynys ac yn troi i ymosod ar haid o biod y mor gan eu chwalu i sawl cyfeiriad.
The peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), Aleutian Canada goose (Branta canadensis leucopareia), and Robbins' cinquefoil (Potentilla robbinsiana) are three that were delisted recently after years of ESA protection and recovery efforts.