Peregrine Falcons

Famous as the fastest animal on the planet, peregrine falcons are synonymous with speed. They are fantastic predators and can be seen worldwide, even in cities.

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine falcon showing off the mottled underbelly and black

Peregrine falcon showing off the mottled underbelly and black "moustache"


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Falconiformes
Family: Falconidae
Species: Falco peregrinus


Peregrine falcons are one of the most widespread birds on the planet. They are found on every continent bar Antarctica. You can identify a peregrine falcon (when up-close) by their black "moustache" which extends down the side of their face from each eye.

Falcon is derived from the Latin "falx" which means "sickle". This is in reference to the sickle-shaped silhouette of a flying falcon’s wings. The male peregrine falcon is called a "tiercel", the female is simply called a "falcon" while the chicks are called "eyases".

Nests are called a scrape. Positioned on cliff edges the falcon scrapes a shallow depression so that the eggs don’t roll off.


Peregrine falcons are the undisputed fastest animal on Earth. Their body shape and wing posture helps them to fly at break-neck speeds. They can stoop at over 320 km/h (200 mph) by diving from a great height.

The large of eyes of the peregrine falcon

The large of eyes of the peregrine falcon

Hunting for prey

Peregrine falcon's mostly feed on medium-sized birds. There is a notch near the tip of the upper beak, which enables the falcon to break it's prey’s neck, severing it's spine.


They can be seen in cities worldwide. Tall buildings resemble their natural cliff habitat and the abundance of pigeon prey make cities a key peregrine habitat.


Peregrines are a protected bird. Persecution by gamekeepers, decimation by egg collectors and poisoned by pesticides, peregrine falcons received legal protection in the 1960s and have since seen a significant recovery.