Falcons are any of the diurnal birds of prey belonging to the family Falconidae, distinguished by their thin, tapered wings. Known for their amazing flying abilities, they possess plumes or ‘flags’ on the legs and have a small projection in their beak that is developed into a ‘tooth’. Unlike eagles, hawks, and other predatory birds of the family Accipitridae, falcons use the ‘tomial tooth’ (located on the side of the upper beak) to kill their prey.
List of Common Types of Falcon Species
Falconidae family comprises 60 different species of predatory birds, including
falcons, falconets, and caracaras. The name falcon is also used for
representing 35 ‘true’ falcon species that are classified into three to four
groups, including the small and stocky kestrels, the slightly larger hobbies
and their relatives, the variably sized peregrine falcons, and the hierofalcons
or hawk-falcons. Some of the commonly found falcon species are mentioned below:
Size: Their size varies depending on the species, with the smallest falcon being the Seychelles kestrel of length 9.8 in (25 cm) and the largest gyrfalcon having a length of 25.5 in (65 cm).
Weight: The weight of falcons ranges
between 1.5 lbs (0.7 kg) and 2.6 lbs (1.2 kg)
Wingspan: While large falcon species such as gyrfalcon can have a wingspan of 110-160 cm, the Seychelles kestrel, which is the smallest of the falcons, has a wingspan of 40-45 cm.
Color: These birds typically have brown,
yellow, white, gray, or black plumage.
Eyes: Their eyes have a translucent
eyelid and a much larger lens than humans.
Beak: They have a notched beak with a tooth-like projection as compared to the curved beak of hawks.
on all the continents of the world, except for the high Arctic and Antarctica.
Common species like the peregrine falcons (in the more northern regions such as
Alaska and Greenland) and Amur falcons are known for migrating to their
wintering grounds southward.
What Kind of Habitats do Falcons Live in
are found almost everywhere on the earth, ranging from deserts, grasslands,
forests, arctic tundra, and around water bodies typically along the coast.
How long do They Live
In the wild, most falcons have a lifespan of about 13 years, but some may live for 16-20 years. Captive falcons can live as long as 25 years.
What do They Eat
being a dominant predator, hunt blackbirds, pigeons, shorebirds, ducks, gulls,
grebes, starlings, jays, waterfowl, and songbirds. They occasionally eat small
mammals such as rats, mice, gophers, and ground squirrels. They also steal prey,
including lizards, frogs, insects, small snakes, and fish from other predatory
‘true’ falcon species usually store food supplies away in crevasses, saving them
for later use.
species, such as the peregrines are solitary hunters but may guard territories
in pairs and form big flocks during migration.
use calls to communicate with mates, advertise ownership of their territories,
and in food or territorial disputes.
falcons and chicks use different types of vocalizations and sound to beg for
food. The various types of vocalizations are described as chatters, cackles,
croaks, squawks, whines, and wails.
kestrels typically hover, a characteristic hunting behavior that apparently
looks like they are hanging in the air.
long, narrow wings give them the excellent flying ability, helping them to change
directions quickly and dive at incredibly high speeds.
falcon’s vision is eight times superior to humans. It uses this exceptional
eyesight for spotting and catching small, fast-moving prey.
How do They Reproduce and Mate
hawks, true falcons do not construct nests. Instead, they may assemble the
substrate at the nesting site (usually tree cavities, cliffs, epiphytes, and tall
urban structures) to produce a smooth surface for the eggs. Falcons also use
nests that have been built by corvids and other raptor species.
species are monogamous, breeding as solitary pairs. They are territorial
breeders and defend hunting territories around their nesting sites. Although
the males usually perform courtship displays, the breeding pair sometimes
participates in perched and flight displays accompanied by vocalizations. A few
species, including the collared falconets and red-throated caracaras, may
display a polygynous mating system.
once each year, usually between late winter and summer. Females lay 2-4 eggs every
alternate day or every third day. Incubation lasts for 28-35 days, and the
chicks become capable of flight after a fledging period of 4-8 weeks.
What do The Baby Falcons Look Like
are covered in gray or white fluffy down feathers. The upper beak of hatchlings
is light-blue, whereas the legs are gray.
1. How fast can a falcon fly?
fly at an exceptional speed. Species like peregrine falcons dive at speeds of
320 km/h (200 mi/h), which makes them the fastest-moving creatures in the
2. What is a falconer?
A person who
uses a trained captive raptor, like a falcon, hawk, or eagle, to pursue and
capture live prey, including rabbits and squirrels, is called a falconer.
3. What is a group of falcons called?
collective noun used to describe a group of falcons is called a cast.
4. What is a baby falcon called?
are called eyas or eyass, but the term is specifically used to denote falcon
chicks reared for falconry.
5. What is a male falcon called?
used for representing a male falcon is tiercel (US spelling) or tercel (UK
The fastest dive ever recorded for a peregrine falcon is 390 km/h.
Amur falcons undertake the longest migration of any predatory bird, completing a journey of over 4,000 km.
Falcons are often eaten by wolves on the ground, while eagles and large owls hunt smaller falcon species in the air.