Zoology A Closer Look: Falco peregrinus

Discussion in 'Zoology' started by pineappleupsidedown, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. pineappleupsidedown

    pineappleupsidedown Premium Member

    Common name:
    Peregrine Falcon

    Scientific Classification:
    Phylum Chordata
    Subphylum Vertebrata
    Class Aves
    Order Falconiformes
    Family Falconidae
    Genus Falco
    Species peregrinus

    Basic Information

    The peregrine falcon is perhaps the fastest animal on earth. In a stoop, or dive, the peregrine has been clocked at speeds of over 180 miles per hour.

    Because of their fantastic agility and capability for high speeds, the peregrine has been the favorite choice of falconers, who train falcons to hunt other birds.

    The peregrine generally lays two to six eggs, usually in a nest high on cliffs or tall buildings. Falcons often use nests that were built by other birds. Like all birds, falcons pass through 4 distinct periods in their life cycle:

    Nestling - from hatching to first flight.
    Fledgling - bird is able to fly, but parents still catch food.
    Juvenile - bird leaves nest to be on its own.
    Adult - sexual maturity.

    Peregrine falcons prey almost exclusively on birds (doves, pigeons, shorebirds, waterfowl, passerines, etc), although they will also eat small "reptiles" (such as lizards) and mammals. Although the peregrine captures its prey with its claws, it generally kills its prey with its beak.

    Peregrine falcons (and predatory birds in general) are a great asset to many farmers, killing millions of crop-destroying vertebrates and insects.

    The peregrine population declined greatly in the middle of the 20th century, and it was threatened worldwide by the increasing use of pesticides. All breeding pairs vanished in the Eastern U.S. A successful captive breeding/reintroduction program, combined with restrictions in pesticide use, has been the basis of an amazing recovery by the peregrine.