The Peregrine Falcon is without a doubt one of the most recognised of the falcon species found throughout the world. A very powerful and formidable aerial predator this species of bird has the reputation for being the fastest moving animal on the planet. For years it was thought that these birds could dive or stoop at speeds of around 300 to 350 kilometres per hour, but recent tests with trained birds has proven this wrong with one bird going in excess of 400 kilometres per hour. Now that is fast! This speed mind you, is only in a stoop, in flat level flight, your ordinary pigeon can out run a Peregrine from a standing start. To travel at such speed requires some very fine tuned and well designed equipment. The Peregrine has a specially designed nostril that stops the massive influx or rush of air into its head whilst travelling at these speeds. Very rigid and tightly packed feathers and a streamlined body allow for minimal air resistance, and a bullet like body allows these birds to capture their prey with an incredible amount of force. Being such a well designed predator the Peregrine Falcon has been able to exploit almost all of the environment types and is one of the world's most extensively distributed species.
This falcon is one of the few that has adapted very well to coexisting with people. They can be found in a very wide variety of habitats from open grass lands through to open forests. The Peregrine has also added metropolitan habitat to its areas of usage and throughout the world the Peregrine can be quite commonly found living in the major cities, using windowsills of skyscrapers as perfect nesting sites. The cities also supply these birds with one of their favourite food items, the pigeon. Outside of the cities the Peregrine can be found utilising a range of nesting locations from hollows through to exposed cliff faces.
The Peregrine Falcon is a very specific hunter. Designed for catching birds in flight, the Australian subspecies love our Starlings, Galahs, Rosellas, feral Pigeons as well as a range of other native bird species. A Peregrine hunting, striking its prey in flight, is certainly a spectacular sight to see.
This bird tends to pair for life and construct nests on cliff edges. For this reason it has also been known to construct nests on highrise window ledges, even in the busiest cities.
The Peregrine Falcon can be found on all but one of the worlds major continents, Antarctica. With such an extensive distribution this species is now divided into 16 subspecies based on physical variation. These sub-species Vary in size (from 500g to over 1.5 kilograms) colour (from nice white chests through to very buff chests) and slightly different head helmet patterns.