Saturday, 9 March 2013

Peregrine Falcon - National Bird of Angola

The Peregrine Falcon is a raptor, or bird of prey. Adults have blue-gray wings, dark brown backs, a buff colored underside with brown spots, and white faces with a black tear stripe on their cheeks. They have a hooked beaks and strong talons. Their name comes from the Latin word peregrinus, which means "to wander." They are commonly referred to as the Duck Hawk. Peregrine falcons are the fastest flying birds in the world they are able to dive at 200 miles per hour. The scientific name comes from the Latin words falco, meaning hook-shaped (falcate) and may refer to the beak or claws, and peregrinus, meaning to wander. Peregrines have also been called Duck Hawk, Great-footed Hawk, and Wandering Falcon.

Interesting & Amazing Facts About Peregrine Falcon are:
  1. Peregrine falcons eat other birds such as songbirds and ducks, as well as bats. They catch their prey in mid-air.
  2. It has a blue-grey back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache".
  3. As is typical of bird-eating raptors, Peregrine Falcons are sexually dimorphic, females being considerably larger than males.
  4. According to a National Geographic program, the highest measured speed of a Peregrine Falcon is 242 mph (389 km/h).
  5. Peregrine Falcons catch medium-sized birds in the air with swift, spectacular dives, called stoops.
  6. This bird is one of the most widely distributed species in the world. It is found on every continent except Antarctica.
  7. Peregrine Falcon chicks, called eyases, eat an incredible amount of food - in six days, they double their weight, and at three weeks they are ten times their size at birth.
  8. Both the male and female incubate the eggs for about one month. The chicks start to fly in about 42 days, but are still dependent on their parents to learn how to hunt.
  9. Peregrine populations were once endangered due to pesticides like DDT. DDT caused the female to lay thin-shelled eggs that were easily broken, killing the developing embryo inside.
  10. Many falconers prefer to use the Peregrine Falcon because of its spectacular high speed dives. The male bird is referred to as a tiercel and the female as a falcon.
  11. Peregrine Falcons have adapted to living in many cities. Cities offer tall buildings with ledges for nesting, water sources, large populations of pigeons and starlings for food, and have few natural predators.
  12. Lifespan of these birds are approximately 7-15 years but some can live as long as 20 years.

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