Falcon Facts

Falcon Facts
Falcon is medium-sized bird of prey that belongs to the family of falcons and caracaras. There are 37 species of falcon that can be found all over the world except on the Antarctica (most species reside in the temperate parts of the northern hemisphere). Falcons have appeared on the planet 8 to 24 million years ago and managed to adapt to the life in nearly all types of habitats: Arctic tundra, deserts, coastal areas, mountains, forests and tropical rainforests. Unfortunately, as a result of habitat destruction, pesticide poisoning, illegal hunting and collecting of egg from the wild, some species of falcon are classified as vulnerable or endangered.
Interesting Falcon Facts:
Falcon can reach 9 to 19 inches in height and 1.5 to 2.6 pounds of weight.
Most species of falcon are dark brown or grey-colored with white, yellow and black spots and markings on the body.
Falcon has hooked beak, aerodynamic body, pointed wings and strong talons.
Falcon is active during the day (diurnal animal).
Falcon is a carnivore. Its diet is based on rodents, frogs, fish, bats and small birds.
Falcon is the fastest animal on the planet. It can reach speed of 200 miles per hour when it rushes toward the prey. Tapered wings allow quick change of direction during the flight.
Falcon has keen eyesight which facilitates detection of potential prey. It collects prey in the mid-air, from the ground and water with equal ease.
Falcon is a solitary bird. It can spend entire life in the same area, or migrate up to 15.000 miles per year on its way from the wintering grounds to the breeding areas.
Adult falcons do not have much natural enemies. Unlike adults, eggs and chicks are often preyed by large species of eagle and owls.
Mating season of falcons takes place during the spring.
Males perform various twists, rapid dives and other acrobatics in the air to attract females. As a part of a courtship, males provide food for the females ("gift" kept in talons is offered to a female in the mid-air).
Falcons mate for a lifetime. They build nest on the small ledges or in the caves on the tall cliffs. Bridges and skyscrapers are often used for nesting in the urban areas. Female lays 3 to 4 eggs that hatch after incubation period of around 30 days.
Chicks of some species, such as peregrine falcon, grow very fast. They double their birth weight after 6 days and increase it tenfold by the age of 3 weeks. Young birds reach sexual maturity at the age of one year.
Falcons are used in falconry for at least 3000 years. They were very popular during the WWII due to ability to intercept pigeons that were carrying various messages.
Falcon has an average lifespan of around 15 years.

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