Image: Peregrine Falcon Illustration
Peregrine Falcons are birds of prey that live near cliffs, watercourses, woodlands and high-rise city buildings all over Australia. They are dark grey on their back, with a white throat and a black head.
- Andrew Howells
- © Australian Museum
- Common name:
- A Peregrine Falcon
- Scientific name:
- Falco peregrinus
Peregrine Falcons are birds of prey that live near cliffs, watercourses, woodlands and high-rise city buildings all over Australia. They are dark grey on their back, with a white throat and a black head. They have a yellow eye-ring, and very strong, sharp hooked beaks. They have feet with three toes facing forwards and one toe facing backwards. Peregrine Falcons call with a shrill, repetitive scream.
Peregrine Falcons sit in tall dead trees or fly high above the ground in the early morning and late afternoon looking for birds and small mammals such as rabbits to eat. When they find a prey item they swoop down from above and grab it in their sharp talons, killing it quickly or they strike their prey with their foot to stun it. They carry their prey to a sheltered place and tear it into pieces with their sharp beak and swallow it.
Peregrine Falcons do not build nests. They lay their eggs on small ledges in cliffs, in hollows in trees, or in large abandoned nests of other birds. Females lay three pale eggs, which have brown blotches. Both parents take turns to sit on the eggs for 30 days. When the eggs hatch the chicks are helpless but have soft down covering their body. The female feeds the chicks with food brought back to the nest by the male. When the chicks are older both parents take it in turns to feed them. The chicks have feathers and are ready to fly in six weeks.
Peregrine Falcons can reach speeds of more than 300 km per hour when swooping down on prey.
Find out more about Peregrine Falcons on the Birds in Backyards website.