Information about: Falcon

Index | Falcon

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Falcon. A name of various birds of prey, members of the family Falconidae. The falcons proper, for strength, symmetry, and powers of flight, are the most perfectly developed of the feathered race. They are distinguished by having the beak curved from the base, hooked at the point, the upper mandible with a notch or tooth on its cutting edge on either side, wings long and powerful, the second feather rather the longest, legs short and strong. The largest European falcons are the jerfalcon or gyrfalcon proper, a native of the Scandinavian peninsula, and the Iceland falcon, to which may also be added the Greenland falcon. Between these three species much confusion at one time prevailed, but they are now distinctly defined and described. In the Greenland falcon the prevailing color at all ages is white, in the Iceland falcon, dark. The latter more nearly resembles the true gyrfalcon of Norway, which, however, is generally darker, rather smaller, but with a longer tail. Its food consists chiefly of ptarmigans, hares, and waterfowl. It is found over a wide range of northern territory. The peregrine falcon is not so large as the jerfalcon, but is more elegant in shape. It chiefly inhabits wild districts, and nests among rocks. It preys on grouse, partridges, ptarmigans, pigeons, rabbits, etc. Its flight is exceedingly swift, instances of 150 miles an hour being reported.