Fun Falcon Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Nov 07, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary
Falcon facts for kids to enjoy

Peregrine falcons are found in almost all parts of the world, except for in extremely cold countries. The word "peregrine" means "wanderer" or "pilgrim," and hence it is an apt name for the bird.

These birds are the fastest animals in the world, with a flight speed of whooping 242.3 mph (390 kp/h) when chasing prey. They are formidable hunters, preying on small birds, and even bats, in mid-flight.

The peregrine falcon is the largest among all the birds in the falcon family. The females of these species are sized larger than the males. These birds symbolize freedom, victory, and vision. They have excellent vision and can spot prey from even three miles away.

Other types of falcons include the Prairie falcon, Pygmy falcon, Red falcon, Black falcon, Aplomado falcon, and Saker falcon.

Being birds of prey, falcons are usually at the top of the food chain. However, the fact of the matter remains that even they are prey to other larger birds like gyrfalcons, golden eagles and great horned owls.

If you like this article and want to read more about animals, read these interesting animal-related articles on tawny and crowned eagle.

Falcon Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Falcon?

The peregrine falcon is the fastest bird in the world and a very good hunter.

What class of animal does a falcon belong to?

Peregrine falcons belong to the Aves class of the Animalia kingdom.

How many falcons are there in the world?

The total population size of this species of birds presently stands at 140,000 individuals.

Where does a falcon live?

Peregrine falcons are mostly found in open habitats such as grasslands, shrubland, tundra, savannah, desert mountains, and meadows.  They typically live among cliffs or mountain ranges, or near coastlines and river valleys. Even their numbers are increasing in cities. These species of birds can be found everywhere except in most tropical rainforests, extreme polar regions, and very high mountains.

What is a falcon's habitat?

Peregrine falcon's habitat includes almost all continents such as Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania, and South America.

They are mostly found in the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, Central America, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Caribbean Islands, Central Asia, and Western Asia, such as Australia, Japan, Bahamas, Papua New Guinea, Colombia, Canada, Germany, India, Mexico, Venezuela, and Lithuania.

Who do falcons live with?

Peregrine falcons are not social birds and prefer to operate all alone. They are mostly potted singly or sometimes in pair, excluding the mating season.

How long does a falcon live?

Peregrine falcons have an average lifespan ranging between 17-19 years. The mortality rate among young falcons is very low, with 6 out of every 10 peregrine falcons dying in their first year of life.

How do they reproduce?

Peregrine falcons are serially monogamous in nature. They only mate with one partner for their entire life and keeps reverting to the same nesting spot every year.

The male performs a series of acrobatics in the air to attract the attention of the female partner. The female chooses the nesting site and lays a cluster of three to five eggs.

The incubation period lasts for around a month (29 - 33 days). In Northern Hemisphere, the eggs are laid from February to March; and in Southern Hemisphere, the eggs are laid from July to August.

What is their conservation status?

The extensive use of DDT-like pesticides before the 1970s resulted in the peregrine falcon becoming an endangered species. However, the ban on DDT since the '70s has revived the species, supported by releases to the wild and large-scale protection of nesting places.

The IUCN Red List puts the total population size of Peregrine falcons at about 100,000-499,999.

However, All About Birds resource counts the total population be to be approximately 140,000 mature individuals. All in all, they have been classified as Least Concern (LC) in the IUCN Red List, and their numbers are increasing.

Falcon Fun Facts

What do falcons look like?

Falcon bird facts about falcon diet, falcon talons, and falcon claws for bird enthusiasts to learn.

The peregrine falcon is the largest of all the falcons. There are 19 regional variants of the peregrine falcon, each of different colors and sizes. The most common peregrine falcon has blue-gray or blackish white (slate-colored) wings.

The underside of their stomachs are pale in color and there are black bars on their backs. The face is white in color, the eyes are large and dark, and there are black stripes on each cheek.

The tail is slim and short and brown in color. Their feather colors tend not to change seasonally. Young falcons or eyases are browner and darker than adults.

Peregrine falcons have long, tapered wings that are slender and pointed at the end. The wingspan is 39.4 -43.3 in (100  -110 cm) in length.

The female bird is sized larger than the male falcon, as is the case in most birds of prey.

How cute are they?

The peregrine falcon is not a social or cute bird at all. Because of its strong hunting ability and menacing appearance, it is very dangerous in nature.

How do they communicate?

Peregrine falcons communicate with each other in various ways. They mostly communicate through the use of body language and behavior displays. They have also several vocalizations such as food calls, alarm calls, wailing calls, and territorial calls.

The falcons emit a loud cacking when there is some disturbance near the nest. The eyases or fledgelings make loud wailing sounds when they are hungry.

How big is a falcon?

Peregrine falcons are 13–23 in (34-58 cm) in length and 18 in (45.7 cm) in height on average. The male falcons are slightly smaller than the females as is the case in most birds of prey. The North American peregrine falcon is approximately the same size as a crow.

How fast can a falcon fly?

With its large wingspan, a peregrine falcon, while swooping down to catch prey, can reach a speed of 242.3 mph (390 kp/h) in flight. This makes this species not only the fastest flying bird but also the fastest animal on earth.

How much does a falcon weigh?

Males peregrine falcons weigh around 0.73–2.2 lb (0.3-1 kg), while the females weigh around  1.5-3.3 lb (0.68-1.49 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Male peregrine falcons are known as tiercels ( tercel), while females are known as falcons.

What would you call a baby Falcon?

A baby peregrine falcon is known as eyas ( eyass).

What do they eat?

Peregrine falcons are found to mostly eat other small birds. About 450 North American species and nearly 2000 species worldwide are assumed to be hunt by falcon as food.

The most common species prey on by falcons include ducks, pigeons, shorebirds, songbirds, and gulls. They have been documented hunting small birds like hummingbirds to birds as large as sandhill cranes. Peregrine falcons are also assumed to hunt bats, and even seen seldom stealing prey such as rodents and fish from other raptors.

Are they dangerous?

Peregrine falcons possess sharp territorial instincts, attacking anybody who they assume to possess any threat to their nest. They can rip flesh apart with their sharp hooky beaks and can even penetrate through the spinal cord of their quarry.

Also, the birds can move at twice the speed of a baseball and have four to eight times the mass. Hence, they are powerful and dangerous enough to harm almost all animals including humans.

Would they make a good pet?

No, the peregrine falcon is not a social bird, and hence is not a good choice for a pet. Also, it is illegal to own a peregrine falcon as a pet in the United States without the proper state and federal licenses.

The process to obtain such licenses is also quite difficult as it involves a number of steps over years.

Did you know...

Four species of falcon breed in Alaska include the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), American kestrel (Falco sparverius), gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus), and merlin (Falco columbarius). Accidental or occasional falcon visitors to Alaska include the hobby (Falco subbuteo) and the Eurasian kestrel (Falco tinnunculus).

New Zealand is the only major ice-free landmass in which falcons are not found.

How far can a falcon see?

Peregrine falcons have binocular vision which means their vision is eight times more powerful than that of humans. This helps them in hunting as they can spot their prey from more than 1.8 miles (3 km) away.

Falcon vs. hawk

In hawk vs falcon, the main differences between the birds are as follows.

Hawks have slightly curved but smooth beaks, unlike falcons who have a notch or an angular bend. Hawks use their strong talons to catch and kill their prey, while falcons use their powerful beaks to break the necks of their prey easily.

Peregrine falcons and hawks have distinctly separate wingspan. Falcons have slender and pointed wings, while there are 'fingers' at the end of the wings of a hawk.

Hawks have long tails, unlike falcons that have slim and short tails. Falcons are very swift in flight while hawks tend to glide in the sky while looking for prey.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including harpy eagle, or a magellanic penguin.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our falcon coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

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Smriti ChaudharyBachelor of Technology specializing in Information Technology

Smriti, a student data scientist, and coder, is pursuing her Bachelor of Technology at K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering. She has achieved top rankings in the International English Olympiad, National Spelling Bee, and PSAT/SAT English Section. She is experienced in content creation and editing for various academic institutions.

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