Critter Science

The Science of Animals

peregrine falcon

The World’s Fastest Bird, the Peregrine Falcon

The peregrine falcon, also known as the peregrine, and also as the duck hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey. Their name comes from the Latin word peregrinus, which means “to wander.” This bird is one of the most widely distributed species in the world. It is found on every continent except Antarctica. This bird is the fastest animal on the planet, by a landslide! Read more about these fascinating birds of prey.

First the Stats…

Scientific name: Falco peregrinus
Weight: Up to 3.3 lbs.
Length: Up to 23 inches
Wingspan: Up to 3.3 feet
Lifespan: Up to 13 years

Now on to the Facts!

1.) Peregrine falcons eat other birds like songbirds and ducks. They will also eat bats. They are able to catch their prey in mid-air and can spot prey over a mile away!

2.) They prefer wide-open areas, and they tend live near coasts where shorebirds are common, but they can be also found everywhere from tundra environments to deserts.

3.) These birds have rebounded immensely since the use of DDT and other lethal chemical pesticides were stopped. Captive breeding programs have also helped to increase the bird’s numbers worldwide.

4.) Peregrines are a favored raptor by falconers and have been used for that activity for 100s of years.

5.) They are monogamous (mate for life). They also breed in the same territory each year.

But wait, there’s more on the peregrine falcon!

6.) Breeding season lasts from late March through May.

7.) The average clutch size is 3 -4 eggs. Gestation lasts from 29 – 32 days.

Did you know…?
These speedy falcons can dive up to 240 mph! They can also fly at speeds of up to 100 mph!

8.) The chicks, called eyases, eat an massive amount of food. In 6 days they can double their weight, and at 3 weeks are 10x their size at birth!

9.) Some of these falcons will use man-made structures such as bridges and skyscrapers to nest.

10.) Due to their comeback, the IUCN has them listed as “Least Concern”.

Now a Short Peregrine Falcon Video!

Learn more about all kinds of cool critters here.

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Critter Man

With over 40 years of critter experience to my credit and hundreds of zoology teaching hours to people around the world, I have amassed not only a continuing thirst for critter knowledge but a desire to teach others all I can about the majesty and wonder of our natural world. Critter Science is a culmination of such knowledge.I have hands on as well as book acquired intel on all kinds of critters. Whether they're on land, sea, or air.I will never say that I know everything about all animals. That's impossible, even for a savant. But, that being said, ask me any animal question and I'll answer it. If I don't know the answer, I'll get an answer for you!Let it be said that I have been oft times accused of loving animals more than I love people. I can neither confirm nor deny this.

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