Connecting Birds and People

Peregrine Falcon

Falco peregrinus

CONSERVATION STATUS.

The Peregrine Falcons demonstrated slight increase of population starting from late 1990-s, which could be related to less use of persistent pesticides by farmers. Later in early 2000-s their population again started declining, which was related to illegal trade for falconry. At current it appears to getting stabilized.

HABITAT.

Peregrines are rather adaptable and can occupy various habitats, including semi-deserts, forests, and subalpine areas, if there are cliffs high enough to breed. 

FEEDING BEHAVIOR.

Peregrines are mainly feeding on birds catching them in flight. Usually Peregrines circle high in the sky searching for the flying birds, and once such bird is noted, they dive down on a high speed surprising the prey. Sometimes they chase the prey over the slopes, but do not have a hawk-like behavior to attack the birds from ambush. Rather often they go for domestic pigeons, making the dovecotes angry.

 

EGGS.

Average clutch size is 3-5. Brown with slightly darker spots of the same color. The eggs are incubated by both parents, although the female does the majority, and male’s role is more on food supplier. Incubation takes about 32 days, then the nestlings stay in the nest being 40-45 days old.

YOUNG.

The first flight of Peregrines takes place in late may – early June. The first few days, the fledglings are flying less and are quite vulnerable, that is why the parents aggressively protect them in that period. Then female starts teaching them hunting passing them the food in the air. Usually young stay with parents another month and in early July disperse out of the natal territory.

DIET.

This specie is a specialized bird hunter. In Armenia its diet varies in different areas, depending on local bird species availability and abundance. The main species recorded are Chukars, Partridges, Jays, Thrushes, Waders, and some other less abundant species, such as Cuckoos, Woodpeckers, and others. The Ducks take less share in the diet of Peregrines than in other countries.

NESTING.

The Peregrines first breed at second calendar year and make the pair for life. In Armenia they breed on high cliffs, usually occupying the highest cliff in the area. They make nests in small holes, caves, grotto, and on covered cliff ledges. They lay their eggs in a small depression made in the substrate of the cliff ledge.

MIGRATION.

In Armenia the species is residential, and stays in the breeding area year round, although in some higher elevation areas makes local vertical movements.

DISTRIBUTION.

Peregrine is a cosmopolitan species and occupies almost entire world. The subspecies brookei is distributed in Mediterranean and Caucasus regions.

CONSERVATION MEASURES.

The species is evaluated as Least Concern in IUCN Red List and as Vulnerable VU D1 for the Red Book of Animals of Armenia (2010). Also the species is included in Appendix I of CITES and Appendix II of Bern Convention. Some local pairs of the species are protected in State Reserves, National Parks, and Biosphere Reserve. The main issues are related to use of persistent pesticides and illegal trade. Thus the conservation measures should be directed to replacing of use of pesticides with alternative methods of pest control and strengthening of measures against illegal trade of the wildlife.

More Birds From family