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- The Peregrine Falcon, also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae.
- As is typical of bird-eating raptors, Peregrine Falcons are sexually dimorphic, females being considerably larger than males.
- The Peregrine is renowned for its speed, reaching over 322 km/h (200 mph) during its characteristic hunting stoop (high speed dive), making it the fastest member of the animal kingdom.
- In fact, the only land-based bird species found over a larger geographic area is not always naturally occurring but one widely introduced by humans, the Rock Pigeon, which in turn now supports many Peregrine populations as a prey species.
- Experts recognize 17 to 19 subspecies which vary in appearance and range; there is disagreement over whether the distinctive Barbary Falcon is represented by two subspecies of Falco peregrinus, or is a separate species, F. pelegrinoides.
- While its diet consists almost exclusively of medium-sized birds, the Peregrine will occasionally hunt small mammals, small reptiles, or even insects.
- Males weigh 424 to 750 grams and the noticeably larger females weigh 910 to 1,500 grams; for variation in weight between subspecies, see below.
- The specific name taken from the fact that juvenile birds were taken while journeying to their breeding location rather than from the nest, as falcon nests were difficult to get at.
- Today, Peregrines are regularly paired in captivity with other species such as the Lanner Falcon to produce the “perilanner”, a somewhat popular bird in falconry as it combines the Peregrine’s hunting skill with the Lanner’s hardiness, or the Gyrfalcon to produce large, strikingly colored birds for the use of falconers.
- Falco peregrinus submelanogenys, described by Mathews in 1912, is the Southwest Australian Peregrine Falcon.
- The Peregrine Falcon reaches faster speeds than any other animal on the planet when performing the stoop, which involves soaring to a great height and then diving steeply at speeds of over 320 km/h (200 mph), hitting one wing of its prey so as not to harm itself on impact.
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