Written by Tadashi

Modified & Updated: 30 Dec 2023

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

Peregrine Falcon sitting on the stone

One of the most common birds in the world, you can find the peregrine falcon in the cold lands of the Arctic as well as in the humid expanse of the rainforests. In fact, New Zealand stands as the only country on Earth where you won’t find them. Learn more about this amazing bird with these 30 Peregrine Falcon facts.

  1. A peregrine falcon’s body typically measures between 34 cm and 58 cm long.
  2. Their wingspan typically measures between 74 cm and 120 cm from one wingtip to the other.
  3. Females typically grow about 30% bigger than males.
  4. Males typically weigh between 330 g and 1 kg.
  5. Females, on the other hand, typically weigh between 700 g and 1.5 kg.
  1. The peregrine falcon’s ancestors first evolved between 8 and 5 million years ago.
  2. Scientists remain divided whether or not they first evolved in Eurasia or in Africa.
  3. Peregrine falcons diverged from hierofalcons between 2.5 and 2 million years ago.
  4. Barbary falcons later diverged from the peregrine falcons at the end of the last Ice Age.
  5. Humans first began taming peregrine falcons around 3000 years ago, in Central Asia.
  6. English ornithologist, Marmaduke Tunstall, gave them their scientific name, Falco peregrinus, in 1771.
  7. Soldiers used peregrine falcons in WWII to intercept enemy messenger pigeons.
  8. Pesticides like DDT caused peregrine falcon populations to sharply decline from the 1950s to the 1970s.
  9. Peregrine falcons recovered by 1999, when they lost their endangered species designation.
  10. Peregrine falcons today enjoy “protected” status worldwide.
  1. With a maximum recorded speed of 389 kph, the peregrine falcon has the reputation of the fastest animal on Earth.
  2. On average, however, a peregrine falcon regularly reaches a top speed of only 320 kph.
  3. Some airports use peregrine falcons to scare other birds away, reducing the danger of bird strikes.
  4. The Ancient Egyptians associated peregrine falcons with the Sun god, Ra.
  5. In Medieval Europe, people associated princes with peregrine falcons.
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