Falcons are the fastest living birds that belong to Animalia kingdom, Chordata phylum, Aves class, Falconiformes order, Falconidae family, Falconinae subfamily and Falco genus. There are almost 60 species in the Falconidae family. The genus Falco constitutes 40 different species. The word “Falco” is derived from the Latin word “falx”, meaning “Falcon”, and “facts”, meaning “a sickle” (representing the claws of the bird).
The word “Faucon” has French and English origins that refer to “captive raptor species”. They are found across the world, from the United States to Tundra. Some can exhibit migration and travel as far as Alaska and Hawaii. They inhabit mountains and cliffs and can also be found in deserts. Some common types of falcons are, Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus, the fastest animals on the planet, dive at the speed of 240 miles per hour, found along mountain ranges and coastlines), Common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus, have chestnut brown body with black spots, can see in ultravoilet range),
Saker falcon (Falco cherrug, very large, exhibit wingspan of about 4 feet), American kestrel (Falco sparverius, called as Sparrow hawks, found across South and North America), Red necked Falcon (Falco chicquera, medium sized, found in semi desert regions), Pigeon hawk (Falco columbarius, commonly called Merlin, heavy bodied, inhabits open countries), Prairie falcon (Falco mexicanus, inhabits grasslands and farm fields, found in the western United States,
Canada and Mexico), Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus, the largest Falcon species, commonly called as Gyr, found in Alaska and Canada), Aplomado falcon (Falco femoralis, incredibly beautiful and colourful, once found in the southern United States, has become endangered), Bat falcon (Falco albigularis, found in Mexico, Central and South America, characterized by white throat, dark back and red belly), Forest falcon (Micrastur semitorquatus, found in tropical America), Laughing Falcon (Herpetotheres cachinnans, found in wooded lowlands of Central and South America), Falconets (Microhierax species) and Pygmy falcons (Polihierax) both are small birds of Old World tropics.
They are diurnal and solitary birds having a crown of black coloured feathers on their heads, long and pointed grey coloured wings that enable swift flying, white coloured throat feathers, black and brown bears on the sides of the abdomen, plumes called flags on legs and notch in their beaks which is developed to form a tooth in genus Falco. They exhibit sexual dimorphism. Females are slightly larger than males.
They have exceptional vision power, i.e. 2.6 times greater than a normal human. They also exhibit migration when the weather becomes intensely cold and migrate towards the southern United States. After coming back to their homes, they become extremely territorial and exhibit fights to defend their territories and young ones.
They mostly feed on birds, rabbits and bats. They are mostly monogamous that mate for life. Their nesting sites are holes in trees and natural ledges on cliffs. Certain courtship rituals include bowing, ledge display and scraping. The eggs laid are 4 to 5 in number, which are buffy white in colour with red spots. Their calls include “kak-kak-kak” (alarm call) and “shrieks”.
They have an average size of about 22 centimetres to 40 centimetres or 9 inches to 19 inches, an average weight of about 0.7 kilograms to 1.2 kilograms or 1.5 pounds to 2.6 pounds and an average wingspan of about 74 centimetres to 120 centimetres. They exhibit a top speed of about 200 miles per hour.
Some of the predators of these birds are humans, owls, eagles and wolves. Their conservation status depends upon individual species, but overall it is the least concern. Rough estimation indicates that there are almost 140,000 falcons in the world. Their average lifespan is 12 to 18 years.
Falcon Bird Facts:
Some of the facts about Falcon birds are as follows,
- Falcon birds are the fastest animals on the planet. (Both on land and in the air)
- They are widely distributed in all the continents except Antarctica.
- Their most distinctive features are their aerodynamic body shape and sharp, pointed beaks.
- They inhabit mountains and cliffs.
- They are carnivores and feed on rabbits, birds and bats.
- They can catch food even in mid-flight by using a sharp tooth at the end of their beaks.
- They exhibit extraordinary eyesight and can even see in the ultraviolet range.
- They have a solitary lifestyle.
- Their nesting sites are tree holes, cliffs and ledges.
- Their predators are eagles, humans, owls and wolves.
- They are recorded as “least concern” by IUCN (overall).
- Their estimated population is 140,000.
- Their average lifespan is 12 to 18 years.
Falcon Bird Meaning:
Falcon bird has a wide range of symbolism. It means death and evil and, at the same time, symbolizes vitality.
In Ancient Egypt, it is considered as the symbol of sacredness because it represents the Horus god. For Greeks, it is Apollo’s messenger. In Celtic mythology, it is considered as the symbol of victory. In Native American culture, it is the symbol of power, courage and strength. In Asia, it is the symbol of bravery, nobility and power. In Christianity, it symbolizes evil because it preys on others, and Christians call it an abomination.
Seeing Falcons in dreams have different meanings.
- If you see a baby Kestrel falcon in your dream, then it is a sign of prosperity.
- If you see a dead falcon in your dream, then it is the symbol of a defeated rival.
- If you see a Falcon flying over your head in your dream, then it is a sign that you should be cautious about your enemies.
- If you see a hawk in your dream, then it is a sign that you will experience some delightful events in the near future.
Falcon totem animal means taking quick actions and avail every opportunity. People who consider Falcon as their spirit animal are mostly solitary, satisfied, agile, sharp, healthy-minded, potent in any problematic situation, patient, analytical, creative, energetic and courageous.
Falcon Bird Call:
Some of the calls exhibited by Falcon birds are,
Falcons use this sound to communicate with each other.
Falcons make this sound when they are looking for a mate, need food and are annoyed.
These are alarm calls that are used against enemy species.
Low pitched sounds exhibited by males during copulation.
Falcon Bird Speed:
Falcon birds are the fastest animals on the planet. This is because of their long and pointed wings and aerodynamic body shape that exhibit the highest wingspan.
Peregrine falcons are the fastest Falcon species that can dive at the speed of 390 kilometres per hour. The average wingspan of Falcon species is 74 centimeters to 120 centimeters.
Falcon Bird Price:
Falcon’s price depends on many factors like its type, pedigree and its origin. European falcons have a price of about $1,000. Falcons that are found in the Central Valley of California have a price of about $100,000. The average cost of Falcons is $200 to $10,000.
For owning a Falcon, you must have to become a falconer. To become a falconer, you have to pass the test, find a sponsor and make a proper housing unit. All these contribute to extra expenditures.
Falcon Bird Vs Hawk:
Falcons and Hawks are both birds of prey. Some of the differences between them are as follows,
- Hawks have a larger size as compared to Falcons. The average size of Hawk is 8 inches to 30 inches, while the average size of Falcon is 8 inches to 26 inches.
- Both have a difference in their colouring pattern. Hawks are brown and grey feathered with a pale underside, while falcons have bluish-grey colouration.
- Hawks have short, wide and rounded wings, while Falcons have long, slender and pointed wings.
- Hawks have slender and pointed heads, while Falcons have around and short heads.
- Hawks kill their prey with the help of their feet having sharp talons, while Falcons kill their prey with the help of a tooth that is present on the side of their beaks.
- Hawks inhabit woodlands, forests, deserts, fields and tropical areas, while Falcons inhabit open countries.
- The nesting sites of Hawks are high up away from predators while Falcons build their nests in tree holes.
- Hawks exhibit slow fluttering when flying, while Falcons exhibit high-speed diving and powerful flapping during flight.
- Hawks feed on small mammals while Falcons feed on ground vertebrates and small birds.
Falcon Bird Colorado:
There are four species of Falcons found in Colorado. These are,
American Kestrel (Falco Sparverius):
These are the smallest Falcons in North America. They are fierce predators and can attack birds even bigger than them. They feed on birds, small mammals and some invertebrates. They are characterized by their small-sized heads, beaks and beautiful colouration of wings, i.e. blue coloured wings with brown spots in males.
Merlin (Falco Columbarius):
They are small Falcons, slightly larger than Kestrels, found in Colorado. They feed on small birds.
Peregrine Falcon (Falco Peregrinus):
They exhibit migration towards the arctic regions of Canada. They are the fastest animals on the planet. They can dive at a speed of about 200 miles per hour.
Prairie Falcon (Falco Mexicanus):
They inhabit grasslands and fields. They feed on small mammals and birds. They are larger than Merlins but smaller than Peregrines.
Falcon Bird And Eagle Differences:
Both Eagles and Falcons belong to the same order, i.e. Falconiformes but have different families. Some of the distinguishing features between them are as follows,
- Eagles belong to the Accipitridae family, while Falcons belong to the Falconidae family.
- Eagles are heavier and stronger as compared to Falcons.
- Eagles have stronger talons as compared to Falcons.
- Eagles have pale yellow coloured eyes while Falcons have dark black or brown coloured eyes.
- Eagles have stronger eyesight (6 to 8 times greater than humans) as compared to Falcons (4 to 7 times greater than humans).
- Eagles catch prey by grabbing and crushing it with the help of their talons while Falcons suddenly hit and dive the prey giving it a surprise.
- Falcons have a tooth at the side of their beaks. Eagles don’t exhibit this tooth.
- Eagles are aggressive, while Falcons have a most pleasant character.
- Eagles have broad-chested bodies, while Falcons have slim bodies.
- Eagles have prominent eyebrow ridges over their eyes. Falcons don’t exhibit this feature.
- Eagles have broad and rounded wings, while Falcons have long and pointed wings.
Falcon Bird Characteristics:
Some of the characteristics exhibited by Falcon birds are as follows,
- Falcons are medium-sized raptor birds.
- Their black coloured crown, nape and wedge make them look like a helmet.
- They have long and pointed wings that are grey in colour.
- They have white coloured throats, and underparts of their bodies are also white in colour.
- They exhibit black bars on the sides of their abdomen.
- They have blue eye rings and greenish-yellow coloured feet.
- They have sharp and hooked beaks having a notch on edge.
- Females are slightly larger than males.
- They are fierce predators and kill their prey with the help of teeth at the back of their beaks.
- They exhibit excellent eyesight. They can catch their prey during mid-flight.
- They become sexually mature at about 2 to 3 years of their age.
Falcon Bird Food:
Falcons are carnivores. They are not picky about their food. They feed on prey that is easy to catch without doing much work. They feed on rodents, amphibians, mice, rats, rabbits and even other birds.
How Big Is A Falcon Bird?
They are small to medium-sized birds. Their average size is 22 centimetres to 40 centimetres or 9 inches to 19 inches. The largest Falcon species is Gyrfalcon. Its size is 60 centimetres or 2 feet.
How Fast Is A Falcon Bird?
Falcons are the fastest animals on the planet Earth. They have an aerodynamic body shape and long, pointed wings that make them swift in a fight, and they exhibit the highest wingspan. Peregrine falcons can dive at the speed of about 200 miles per hour (the fastest speed).
How Much Weight Can A Falcon Bird Lift?
Falcons can’t carry more than half of their weight, so they remove wings, legs and heads of prey in order to make them lighter.
Falcons are the fastest living animals on the planet Earth. The 40 different Falcon species are found in all the continents except Antarctica. They are well known for their long, pointed wings, aerodynamic body shape, a tooth at the side of their beaks, sexual dimorphism, exceptional eyesight and kak-kak calls. They have been included in many myths and folklores, and people consider them as their spirit animals. The overall population of Falcons is stable, but some serious actions need to be taken to protect the endangered species.