Friday, September 4, 2020

American Peregrine Falcon

The peregrine falcon is found worldwide and is the fastest bird in the world, with a speed of over 200 mph when it is diving. Since youth, the peregrine to me has been the epitome of a bird of prey. There are 19 subspecies. Our local subspecies, Falco peregrinus anatum, known as the American peregrine falcon, or duck hawk, is found mainly in the Rocky Mountains 

Males and females look similar, but the female is about 30% larger than the male. The back and long, pointed wings are bluish black to slate gray. The wing tips are black. The underparts are white to rusty and barred with thin bands of dark brown or black. The tail is long and thin, rounded at the end, with a black tip and white band at the end. It is the color of the back, but has thin bars. The top of the head and the "mustache" on the cheeks are black, the sides of the neck are pale and the throat is white. The feet and cere (over the base of the bill) are yellow and the feet, beak and claws are black. 
Immature birds are more brown and streaked rather than barred underparts. 

I was in Oakmont Park in Live Oak Canyon, in Redlands, the other morning and it was still quite dark out. I photographed a bird I knew was a bird of prey, but assumed it might be a cooper's hawk, one we commonly see. As I got home and lighted up the photos I was shocked to see the peregrine appear. I had no idea we had them locally. 

1 comment:

  1. The female is BIGGER than the male? I'm shocked! Is that fairly unusual among birds?