Falcons

July 30, 2014

Falcons are small to medium-sized birds of prey with long and pointed wings and notched upper part of bill. They are found all across the world though they prefer the more temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Falcons are best known for the ruthlessness and superb flying abilities. There are more than 60 species of falcons and they are found in all habitable parts of the planet.

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Falcons are strong, fierce birds with large feet with long, carved talon and hooked bills. They are birds of prey and are therefore known for their hunting skills and known as a dominant predator within their environment. They have keen eyesight and swift in flight and pursue their prey with rapid wing beats. Falcons vary in size from 25 cm tall to more than 60 cm tall but the height of the falcon depends on the species.

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Falcons are roughly divisible into three or four groups. The first one contains the Kestrels which are a familiar sight with their pointed wings and long tails, usually small and stocky and can sometimes be sexually dimorphic. They can be seen hovering beside roadside verges. They are found in various habitats including farmlands as well as urban areas. They feed on small mammals and birds.

The second group contains slightly larger and more elegant species, the Hobbies and relatives. The Hobbies are very swift falcons with long, narrow wings and is often characterized by the considerable amount of dark slate-grey in their plumage. They feed on smaller birds and insects.

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The third group are the Peregrine Falcon and its relatives. The Peregrine Falcon is a large and powerful falcon with long, broad, pointed wings and a relatively short tail. They mostly live along river valleys, coastlines, mountain ranges and increasingly in cities. The Peregrine Falcon almost exclusively feeds on medium-sized birds such as waterfowl, songbirds, waders, doves and pigeons.

The final group contains the species of hierofalcons namely: Lanner Falcon, Laggar Falcon, Saker Falcon and Gyrfalcon. Their undersides have a lengthwise pattern of blotches, lines or arrowhead marks.

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