What is the most common bird of prey you know?
We bet you said, Falcon.
Falcons are some of the most common birds found across almost all the continents in the world. They are known for their ferocity and excellent flight skills.
Did you know there are over 40 falcon species? Yes, Falcons are the largest genus in the Falconinae subfamily of Falconidae.
Want to learn more about the different species of the Falcon breed? You have come to the right place.
The American Kestrel
The Kestrel is one of the most common birds of prey found within North America.
Even though they are the smallest of Falcons, one shouldn’t take them lightly.
Kestrels prey on comparatively smaller creatures, such as insects, lizards, mice, and other smaller birds.
Due to such an adaptable diet, the Kestrel can be found in numerous environment settings. From urban to rural areas, they manage to find a living.
Being a common bird across the USA, it can be easily found within urban areas.
Known for its incredible speed, the Peregrine Falcone is one of the most well-known predatory birds.
The Peregrine Falcon is known as the fastest bird, not only is it the fastest bird – but it can also be considered as the fastest animal.
When a Peregrine Falcon spots its prey, it dives down from the air to grab it immediately. During its dive, the bird can go up to 200 miles per hour!
Similar to the Kestrels, Peregrine Falcons are common and can be found almost everywhere in the world due to their migratory nature.
They prefer to live on high cliffs or peaks and have also managed to settle well within urban settings. You can find them on high-rise buildings preying on pigeons.
The Greater Kestrel also called the White-eyed Kestrel is another one of the species belonging to the Falcon family.
The Greater Kestrel is one of the largest Kestrels and is normally found in Southern and Eastern Africa.
These birds prefer open and arid land. You can find them near the grasslands and the savannas. Typically, wherever there is low ground cover.
If you ever happen to witness a fire in such an area, there is a high chance of you finding a Kestrel.
The flames tend to attract them into catching the fleeing prey. Since they mostly feed on insects and small mammals, the diet of this Falcon species is pretty straightforward.
True to India and Sub Saharan Africa, the Red-Necked Falcon is found in large quantities within the savannahs and river forests.
You will find a Red-Necked Falcon hidden within the crowns of the Palm trees, waiting in the perfect moment to dash at their prey.
They are known for their darting flight tactics and for hiding within tree canopies to catch prey.
The Red-Necked Falcon mainly preys on bats and comparatively larger insects and is the most active during dawn to dusk.
The Gyrfalcons is one of the largest falcons found within the North American region, with sizes big enough to compare with a hawk.
The Gyrfalcon, unlike most other falcons, isn’t exactly a warm weather bird. They prefer the cold northern habitats but choose to avoid the harsh winters.
In the winter season, you can find these birds in the river valleys, farmlands, or grasslands. High open areas with lots of birds are their choice of stay.
A unique fact about the Gyrfalcon is that you can often find them on the ground as well since they tend to perch down instead of always being up in the sky.
Do you ever wonder what a combination of a vulture and falcon/hawk would look like? Well, look no further – the Crested Caracara is exactly that.
A bit larger than the Peregrine Falcons, the Crested Caracara has large sharp talons with bright orange faces proving the hawk-vulture mixture.
You can find the most commonly anywhere within Central America. However, research has also found them in a few areas in the Southern USA such as Texas and Arizona.
They perch high up on branches and are only found on the ground while either eating roadkill or other dead animal bodies.
Since the Crested Caracaras are omnivores, their diet mainly consists of flesh from already dead or decaying animal bodies. We can see the vulture-like resemblance already.
Merlin Falcons are quite similar to the American kestrel, however, they are slightly larger and have a more bulky build.
Since the Merlin is a migratory bird, they can be found all over North America, and when it gets too cold in the North – they tend to move to the South.
You can find these birds in nearby grasslands, shrublands, forests, parks, graveyards, etc. They are pretty adaptable, so habitat is not an issue.
The Eurasian Hobby is also known as the Hobby is more like a slimmer version of an average Falcon.
The Eurasian Hobby, much like its name, can be found from Europe to Asia. It’s known to migrate to Africa during the winter season. The Hobby is quick and fast all thanks to its long pointed wings and square tail.
Due to its unique aerobatics skills, The Hobby can capture small birds while in flight and also eat them midair, as the prey is transferred from the talons to the beaks.
Moreover, when it comes to nesting, The Eurasian Hobby is a lazy bird. They tend to inhabit old crow nests and lay around 2-4 eggs every breeding cycle.
True to Texas and New Mexico, the Aplomado Falcon is quite the rare bird in the USA.
Not only is it rarely found, but it is also on the endangered species list in the USA and Mexico.
To put it simply, the Aplomado Falcon looks like a larger version of the American Kestrel.
What makes them stand out is their colorful plumage and the streaks on the sides of their head.
While they are a rare sight within the country, authorities in Southern USA are looking into reintroducing the Aplomado Falcon into the area in an attempt to increase the population.
Bird lovers hope these beautiful creatures regain their population and manage to successfully remove the endangered label from themselves.
The Black Falcon is one of the larger birds within the Falcon family and is only found in Australia.
The bird is known for its agility and fast-flying regardless of its comparatively large size. The Black Falcon preys on smaller birds while in flight or eats insects such as lizards, rabbits, etc.
Moreover, if you ever happen to visit Australia and lose a few items out of the blue – there is a high chance these Black Falcons pick up on small items from you.
Yes, you heard that right, Black Falcons tend to be quite the thieves. They are known for stealing small items or pickpocketing from tourists.
This mesmerizing creature is found most in Australasia and Wallacea, the Spotted Kestrel is mainly found in grasslands with multiple trees dispersed over the area.
It prefers to stay within forested areas, and some research has also displayed they are found living in urban areas.
Similar to the American Kestrel, the Spotted Kestrel preys on small mammals, birds, insects, lizards, etc. They tend to either catch them off the ground or by swerving in through flight.
The Amur Falcon which was previously known as Eastern Red-footed Falcon is a comparatively small bird.
You can find the Amur Falcon in South-Eastern Siberia and Northern China.
Compared to the average falcon, the Amur Falcon looks quite different from the others. The males are known to have dark brown plumage.
Unlike most Falcons, the Amur Falcon feeds only on termites and insects.
Known to love their space, the Prairie Falcon roams around in wide-open areas like grasslands or fields where they fly high above in the sky.
The Prairie Falcon can be found in pretty much most of the Western half of the USA.
The Prairie Falcon is most commonly used for hunting just like the Peregrine Falcons. They can be seen soaring in the skies looking for their next prey.
More importantly, their brown color comes in handy while hunting since it helps the Prairie Falcon camouflage into its surroundings and hunts easily.
You know what bird to rely upon during your next hunting trip!
Congratulations, you have managed to reach the end of this Falcon-filled journey. While there are numerous numbers of species for the Falcon, we tried to list the most popular ones here in this blog.
We hope that this guide into the world of Falcons helped you learn a little more about the bird, their nature, and the different types of Falcons present in the world.
Keep watching this space for more informational blogs and bird-watching guides.
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