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Peregrine falcons are the fastest-flying birds in the world – they are able to dive at 200 miles per hour. Their name comes from the Latin word peregrinus, which means “to wander”. They are commonly referred to as the Duck Hawk.
See the fact file below for more information on the Peregrine falcons or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Peregrine falcon worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves (Birds)
- Order: Falconiformes (swift, graceful birds known for their predatory skill as raptors)
- Family: Falconidae (diurnal birds of prey)
- Genus: Falco
- Species: F. peregrinus
- Conservation Status: Least Concern
SIZE and APPEARANCE
- Coloration is a bluish gray above, with black bars on the white to yellowish-white underparts. Adult peregrines range from about 14.2 to 19.3 inches in length.
- The peregrine falcon has a body length of 34 to 58 cm and a wingspan from 74 to 120 cm.
- Males and females have similar markings and plumage but, as in many birds of prey, the peregrine falcon displays marked sexual dimorphism through size, with females measuring up to 30% larger than males.
- Males weigh 0.73–2.20 lbs and the larger females weigh 1.5–3.3 lbs.
- The standard linear measurements of peregrines are the wing chord measuring 10.4–15.4 inches, the tail measuring 5.1–7.5 in and the tarsus measuring 1.8–2.2 in.
- The upper beak is notched near the tip, an adaptation enabling falcons to kill prey by severing the spinal column at the neck.
LIFESPAN and REPRODUCTION
- The lifespan of peregrine falcons in the wild is up to 15.5 years. They are sexually mature at one to three years of age.
- A pair mates for life and returns to the same nesting spot annually. The courtship flight includes a mix of aerial acrobatics, precise spirals and steep dives.
- Peregrine falcons nest in highest places such as cliffs from 25–1,300 feet high, electricity transmission towers, quarries, silos, skyscrapers, churches and bridges.
- Males typically select a few possible nest ledges at the beginning of each season and the female chooses from these.
- During the breeding season, the peregrine falcon is territorial. This ensures sufficient food supply for pairs and their chicks.
- Clutch sizes are typically 2-5 eggs. The incubation period lasts 29-32 days and chicks are nestlings for 35 to 42 days. Hatchlings are helpless, covered in whitish down, with eyes closed, weighing about 1.5 ounces.
- Peregrine falcons primarily eat birds such as shorebirds, ptarmigan, ducks, grebes, gulls, storm-petrels, pigeons and songbirds including jays, thrushes, longspurs, buntings, larks, waxwings and starlings.
- They rarely hunt mammals, but will on occasion take small species such as rats, voles, hares, shrews, mice and squirrels.
- The peregrine falcon hunts most often at dawn and dusk, when prey is most active, but also nocturnally in cities and particularly during migration periods.
- The falcon’s prey is struck on the wing so the falcon does not injure itself. It then captures the prey in mid-air; the Peregrine falcon strikes its prey with a clenched foot, stunning or killing it with the impact. If its prey is too heavy to carry, a Peregrine will drop it to the ground and eat it there.
HABITAT and BEHAVIOR
- Peregrines are the most widely distributed species of bird of prey, with breeding populations on every continent except Antarctica and oceanic islands.
- In mild-winter regions, it is usually a permanent resident and some individuals, especially adult males, will remain in their breeding territory.
- Only populations that breed in Arctic climates typically migrate great distances during the northern winter.
- Falcons are generally solitary birds and only really come together to mate. Although falcons are known to stay in the same place, many species of falcon are migratory birds and have been known to travel more than 15,000 miles per year.
Peregrine falcon Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Peregrine falcon across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Peregrine falcon worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Peregrine falcons which are the fastest-flying birds in the world – they are able to dive at 200 miles per hour. Their name comes from the Latin word peregrinus, which means “to wander”. They are commonly referred to as the Duck Hawk.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Peregrine Falcon Facts
- Coloring Activity
- The Speed Star
- The Art of Falconry
- Stoop and Swoop
- Falcon Fun
- Weave Maze
- Short Story
- The Poet
- Quick Review
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Link will appear as Peregrine Falcon Facts & Worksheets: http://www.grabillautomotive.com - KidsKonnect, July 25, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.