Common Names: Peregrine falcon, duck hawk
Sub-category: Caracaras & Falcons
The Peregrine is renowned for its speed, reaching speeds of over 202 mph during its characteristic hunting dive, making it the fastest member of the animal kingdom. Its diet consists almost exclusively of medium-sized birds, the Peregrine will occasionally hunt small mammals, small reptiles, or even insects.
The peregrine falcon has a body length of 13 to 23 inches and a wingspan from 29 to 47 inches. The male and female have similar markings and plumage, but as in many birds of prey the peregrine falcon displays marked sexual dimorphism in size, with the female measuring up to 30% larger than the male. The back and the long pointed wings of the adult are usually bluish black to slate grey with indistinct darker barring; the wingtips are black. The white to rusty underparts are barred with thin clean bands of dark brown or black. The tail, colored like the back but with thin clean bars, is long, narrow, and rounded at the end with a black tip and a white band at the very end. The top of the head and a "moustache" along the cheeks are black, contrasting sharply with the pale sides of the neck and white throat. The cere is yellow, as are the feet, and the beak and claws are black. The upper beak is notched near the tip. The immature bird is much browner with streaked, rather than barred, underparts, and has a pale bluish cere and orbital ring.