How the falcon bird looks and feeds


Falcons - a genus of birds of prey, widely spread in the world. Their name comes from the word "falx" ("sickle"), thus emphasizing the peculiar shape that their wings take during flight. It helps them to achieve remarkable success during maneuvering at high speed. For example, the peregrine falcon is considered the fastest bird in the world because of its ability to reach speeds of 320 km / h during the chase of the victim. Finding prey during planning in the sky, he adjusts himself to be somewhat higher, after which he makes a rapid fall on it, hitting it with its paws pressed to the body. Often the blow is such a force that the victim dies instantly.

It is noteworthy that in the Ukrainian culture it was the peregrine falcon who, since the times of Kievan Rus, was called a falcon, and only later this name gained a larger scale, including other birds of this genus. It should be noted that even now, when talking about falcons, people most often imply a peregrine falcon.

Sapsan - day predator

The Peregrine Falcon is not only fast, but also a very strong bird, unparalleled among feathered predators. It is distributed almost everywhere, as it makes flights around the globe. You can meet him throughout Europe, both on rocky coasts and in areas with difficult climatic conditions. Most often, the peregrine falcon can be found on peatlands, in steppes and semi-deserts. These areas are his favorite places for recreation and hunting.

In Central Europe, these birds of prey inhabit the predominantly highlands, making their nests on sheer cliffs. In winter, this falcon prefers to settle in close proximity to large reservoirs, where it hunts for waterfowl. It is noteworthy that only young individuals migrate, the old birds lead exclusively sedentary lifestyles.


Sapsan is a bird of the falcon family, whose body length is 40-50 cm with a wingspan of 90 to 120 cm. It is noteworthy that males are almost half the size of females. The weight of the male is 650-800 g, and the female weighs 0.9-1.3 kg.

Most of the body of the bird is dark gray. At the same time, dark triangular inclusions predominate in the plumage. The lower part of the chest and belly are pale yellow with dark stripes. Even black primary feathers are spotted. With its size, the peregrine falcon reaches the dimensions of a small crow, standing out among the rest of the birds of this genus with its dark, dark gray plumage of the back, colorful bright belly, black top of the head, as well as dark, elongated spots under the eyes, called "whiskers". Depending on the size and characteristics of the colors, there are more than 15 subspecies of this falcon. At the same time in the post-Soviet space, three of them are distributed:

  • usual,
  • Caucasian,
  • tundra.

The first two are rare breeding birds, and the last can be found only during the flight.

The sapsan, who has chosen a suitable female for himself, makes a mating flight in front of her, during which he gives her prey. In that case, if the female agrees to accept courtship, she turns over in the air and, while floating in the sky with her back down, takes prey from the male's claws. After that, the pair is considered formed and can proceed to the selection of a suitable nesting site, which in most cases occurs in large forests, among which there are large mountain ranges.

Peregrine falcons nest in the cracks of steep cliffs, but they prefer to use the nests of other birds of prey for shelter, which they correct so that the falcon feels most comfortable. This nest is quite spacious, it accommodates parents and chicks. In addition, due to its design and inaccessibility of placement, it is reliably protected from predators. In the case when the peregrine falcons have to build a nest on the ground and rocks, they are limited to the device of a primitive litter, which is assembled from several branches and large feathers. If the nest is in a good place and made with high quality, several generations of birds can live in a row in it. In addition, each pair always has several spare sockets in case of the destruction of the main one.

Breeding and chicks

A falcon is a bird that breeds no more than once a year: from spring to mid-summer (the period directly depends on the region of its habitat), while the number of eggs in a clutch never exceeds 4 pieces. Hatching is carried out by both parents for a month. After the prescribed period, fully formed chicks appear from brownish eggs, feeding which lasts for 1-1.5 months, while both parents take care of the chicks.

The newborn chick falcon is covered with a thin fuzz and heated in the nest by the female, while the male is occupied with obtaining food, which they and the female, having torn into small pieces, feed the chicks together. Kids grow up pretty quickly and from the age of one month begin to stand on the wing. At the same time, the falcon-chick continues to stay with its parents for a long time after their departure from the nest. During this period, he learns not only the habits of adults, but also their hunting skills.

A falcon is a bird, the puberty of which begins at the age of one year, but it will form its own pair only at the age of three. Peregrine falcons are monogamous birds. A formed couple lives all their lives together. This is explained by well-developed breeding conservatism, that is, this falcon, having flown off to warmer regions in winter, will return to its breeding site next spring. After that, the pair again proceeds to the next arrangement of the nest.

Peregrine Falcon

Falcon is a bird, for which it is best to watch while raising offspring. During this period, birds try to hunt as close as possible to the nest. Falcons in most cases hover at high altitude, carefully watching from there for their chicks. This bird is easy to distinguish in the air due to the large size and special shape of the wings, which resembles a sickle. At other times, the Peregrine Falcons can be observed near various reservoirs, where they hunt for waterfowl.

Despite the fact that these birds of prey live during the life on the same sites, representatives of this species do not accumulate in one place. Each pair is assigned its own large area. On it, the birds feed and incubate chicks. Between the nests of individual pairs the distance can reach several kilometers.

Related species

Peregrine falcon is a bird of the falcon family, the most distinctive feature of which is size.

For example, the subspecies living in the Arctic are the largest in the world, and those living in deserts, on the contrary, are small. Sapsan is one of the most dexterous hunters among the daytime feathered predators. For this reason, it has long been pursued by people involved in falconry. As a result of their actions, the already insignificant population of these falcons has decreased.

It is worth noting that the falcon is a bird whose primary feathers are longer in the first year of life (regardless of their habitat). That is why their wings look much wider than they will be in the future. Such a structure significantly reduces the hunting skills of young individuals, but helps them learn to fly.

The main food of the peregrine falcon is birds, and their size does not matter much. Sapsan can attack both the lark and the heavy goose. In the event that the size of the bird does not allow it to be killed in the air, the peregrine falcon will do it, dropping to the ground, because during the chase of prey the peregrine falcons develop tremendous speed and it often happened that the falcon did not have time to slow down the victim’s sharp maneuver and crashed into some some kind of barrier.

Peregrine falcons are ideal hunting birds, but, like any other falcon, if they begin to pursue it, it leaves its prey, which is what other predatory birds trapping the falcon use.

Species of birds of prey

All diurnal birds of prey that belong to the falcon family can be divided into several ethnic groups:

  1. Kestrels are mostly small gingerbread birds with a dark pattern and sometimes well-marked sex differences. However, some species of African kestrels, in which gray color predominates, stand separately in this group.
  2. Choglocks are rather large, well-built birds with dark gray plumage on their backs and mostly dark feathers on their cheeks, which are sometimes called "mustaches". This falcon is found in winter in all territories formerly part of the USSR.
  3. The third group is large falcons, the size of which reaches in some cases the dimensions of a small hawk. In most cases, they also have black “whiskers” and often black plumage on the head. The rest of the color is dominated by gray-red color. However, in contrast to the two previous groups, it is a falcon, the species of which carry a much brighter plumage. In addition, some of them have dark stripes on the abdominal part, arranged in a horizontal order.

In some cases, such large falcons are distinguished into a separate group - the subgenus Hierofalco, since these birds have a pronounced content of coloring pigment in the plumage, which makes them very similar to hawks.

Falcon Protection

The impact of the peregrine falcons on the populations of other birds is extremely small due to the extreme distance between their populations. In addition, hunting with this falcon is not as effective as it seems at first glance, because only one of the 10 attacks is successful.

However, due to the prevailing environmental conditions and the constant threat poachers devastating the nesting sites of these rare birds, the falcon population is under constant threat even though most species have been listed in the Red Books around the world. Therefore, whether this falcon will have a future depends only on us.

What does the falcon eat in natural conditions?

Falcon is a bird of prey that is capable of attacking and getting food in flight. In this he is helped by long wings, sharp claws and a keen glance. For a few seconds, he reaches the victim and carries her in the claws.

Falcon Diet

Under natural conditions, the falcon feeds on birds, which reach an average size, sometimes it hunts mammals, but only in rare cases.

Most often, the predator picks partridges, seabirds, which are found in bird markets, it is easier to catch the prey there. Falcon can also choose avian birds (dead ends, celebs, loons), young women, gulls (gray, three-toed, silver), sandpipers, sea sandpits, ermine.

The falcons, whose habitat is a forest, choose forest birds such as black grouse, white partridges, hawk owls, and a sparrow and blue-legged owl, teal. The main food for such falcons - white partridges.

Sometimes these predators can hunt mammals - hares, squirrels and lemmings. Falcon can attack ducks, grouse and domestic pigeons.

Feeding falcons depends on the change of the season. What does the falcon eat in winter time? During this period, the white partridges become the main and almost the only food; when they dwell near the freezing water, they can also hunt for water birds.

Features of hunting and food

Every day the falcon eats about 200 grams, but it all depends on the habitat conditions, sometimes the volume may be more. If a predator is fed and he has enough food, then he will eat only large muscles from the victim. This bird does not eat the sacrifice immediately, at first it brings it to the place where it plucks and cuts. If there are chicks, then the male brings prey, and the female shears and feeds her.

The falcon is a great hunter; it only catches flying birds with its beak, and then it breaks the neck and the back of the head. It is thanks to these qualities of birds since ancient times, people arrange falconry, which is popular at the present time.

Falcon Description

This is the main winged bird of the planet.. Falcon is able to move in the air at speeds up to 320 kilometers per hour. Sharp-sighted and strong hunter, able to see the victim per kilometer. The name of the bird in Latin sounds like "falco", comes from the word "falx", which means sickle. Indeed, if you look at a falcon in flight, you can find a similarity of wings with a sickle.

Character and way of life

For hunting, choose the morning and evening. Catch usually smaller birds. Carrion is never eaten. To catch prey use different hunting strategies. They can dive down with great speed, from a great height. Perfectly hunt and in flight. The rest of the day they prefer to relax in remote places, digest food. For nesting sites, treetops and rocks are selected. Rarely, but can occupy other people's bird houses. On the ground never nest.

It is interesting! Falcons love to arrange aerial games in the sky, demonstrating the maneuverability and beauty of their flight. Often, they seem to tease other birds of prey by showing off themselves.

They are able to very high rise in the air, where other birds do not reach. They form a pair and strongly guard their "family" from invasions. All nomadic hawks by nature. And they wander not only at the call of nature, in order to comfortably spend the winter. Some do it throughout life. This bird is easily tamed, unlike other feathered predators.

Not at all afraid of a person and may even live near human dwellings.. The hunting tactics of falcons are also entertaining. Ornithologists usually say the falcon "beats" the victim. And indeed, the behavior is somewhat similar. He overtakes the prey quickly and rapidly, attacking from above. Strikes a powerful blow with a hooked beak. One such strike is enough to kill a small bird.

Sometimes, they seem to scare prey off the ground, it flies up and then the falcon intercepts it sharply in the air. There is no chance of escape even from swallows. The predator sacrifices at an angle of 25 degrees, at a speed of up to 100 kilometers per hour. It so happens that the falcons seem to play with prey: they can “miss” specifically and leave the trajectory, but when unfolded, they give a new attack and seize the target.

It is interesting! Falcon is the most intelligent species among all birds.

Birds are amenable to training and are practically not afraid of man. When dressing necessarily include game elements in the classroom. However, one should not forget, even if the falcon is good at making contact - this is not a dog or a cat, but a formidable predatory animal. They are able to get used to the owner and even demonstrate affection, but still require special attention from the person in communication.

Falcon species

The falcon family includes 11 genera. Among them:

  • Karakary.5 genera: black, krasnogorlye, mountain, karanchi, noisy.
  • Falcons. 6 genera: laughing, forest, American dwarf, small, dwarf, falcons (Falco).

Of these, the genus of falcons (Falco) is the main and most numerical. Includes 40 subspecies, which can be divided into main groups of representatives:

  1. Kestrels - small, dense birds of red color. There are gray, but mainly in Africa. Known as rodent hunters. There are 12 varieties: Madagascar, Seychelles, Mauritius, Moluccan, gray-bearded, common, large, fox, steppe, gray, striped, passerine,
  2. Cheglocks - a large and slender bird with dark gray plumage and black feathers in the cheek area. There are five varieties of the world: Eleonora, African, Common, Eastern and Australian,
  3. Falcons - the most representative group. It includes silver, evening, red-breasted, New Zealand, brown, gray, black, Mediterranean, Altai, Mexican, short-tailed,
  4. Turumti andwhether the red-haired falcon a medium-sized bird with a characteristic brick-red cap on its head. Inhabits the territories of India and Africa.
  5. Kobchik - small falcon, very similar in parameters and behavior to the kestrel. Weight does not exceed 200 grams. The beak is short and weak. It feeds only on large insects. With pleasure eats dragonflies, grasshoppers, locusts and large beetles. An interesting feature is that the raven chooses abandoned “houses” as a nest. Can live in packs of up to 100 representatives. Migrate also in flocks.
  6. Derbnik - lives mainly in northern and eastern Europe. Small, stocky appearance with short, sharp wings and a long tail. It settles in the river valleys, sphagnum swamps. Avoids dense thickets and dark forests. It mainly feeds on small birds. A rare subspecies that can nest on the ground.
  7. Laggar - large, big bird. Actively used in hunting. Питается другими мелкими пернатыми. Но охотится и на сусликов, зайцев.
  8. Балобан – распространен в Центральной Азии, Казахстане, Сибирь, Туркмения, Иран, Афганистан, Китай. Считается одним из самых опасных подвидов. В длину вырастает до 60 см. Размах крыльев до полутора метров. Очень похож на сапсана, но отличается более светлым оттенком окраса и формой крыльев.
  9. Кречет – редкий и самый крупный из соколов. Массивный, крылья длинные и острые. Самец весит около 1 кг. самка примерно 2 кг. От сапсана отличается более длинным хвостом. Распространен в Европе, Азии, Северной Америке. Существует отдельный подвид кречетов на Алтае. Включен в Красную Книгу.
  10. Сапсан– самая быстрая птица на планете. Крупная птица, классический представитель соколиного рода. Распространена по всему миру, кроме Антарктиды,
  11. Шахин – также называют пустынным соколом из-за предпочтения жизни в пустынных местностях. Мельче сапсана по габаритам. В окрасе более рыжие, охристые оттенки. The female weighs almost half as much as the male. The weight of the female reaches 765 grams, the males usually weigh 300-350 grams. Disappearing view.

It is interesting! Falcon - gyrfalcon depicted on the emblem of Kyrgyzstan. And on a coin in 500 Kazakh tenge a falcon is depicted - Saker falcon.


These predatory birds live almost all over the world, with the exception of the north and south poles. Only young individuals fly away for winter. Mature remain at home, moving with the cold closer to the reservoirs. They love steppe and semi-desert. Krechety prefer coastal areas of the northern countries. In Europe, there are mountains and cliffs. Peregrine falcons wander almost all their life and you can meet them anywhere in the world.

Falcon diet

Eats small birds, rodents, insects. It can eat frogs, snakes, and sometimes fish. It feeds on all warm-blooded animals that are smaller in size. The prey has no chance to notice the falcon in advance and, especially, to escape. The beak hook delivers a strong blow, and then the bird tears the carcass apart.

Important! In captivity, it is imperative to feed the game, otherwise the falcon can get very sick.

In order for the digestive system to function without interruption, many birds need feathers and small bones. In nature, eating whole prey, they get everything they need right away. A few hours after a meal, a wick is formed — waste that the bird regurgitates.

Healthy birds should have regular patches, without blood stains and unpleasant odors. When feeding at home, give mice, rats and small birds entirely, without removing the skins. Fed depending on age. The older the bird, the less need for feeding.

  • At the age of two weeks - about 6 times a day. At the same time it is necessary to give small pieces of meat, soaked in a weak saline solution. This is done to simulate the mother's saliva, which helps the proper digestion of the chick.
  • Up to a month - about 5 times a day,
  • Up to one and a half months - 3-4 times,
  • Until complete plumage - feeding 2 times a day.

Reproduction and offspring

Falcons are monogamous. A pair is formed during the mating season. In birds that live in the southern hemisphere, the period lasts from July to August. But for the northern representatives of falcons, the dates shift: from February to March. Marital dance performed right in the sky. The male often presents a gift to the female in its beak during elegant and high-speed flights. Sometimes you can watch as the female and the male rush down with great speed, clutching their claws. So, they can fly up to 10 meters.

The nesting site is chosen carefully. Preference is given to safe nooks. The female lays up to four eggs of red color. It is believed that the heavier the female in weight, the more she gives offspring. Eggs are incubated by both parents in turn. Hatching lasts about a month.

It is interesting! The number of future chicks in the nest depends on the adequacy of food: the more abundant it is, the more eggs are laid.

Falcons are caring parents. The chicks are protected by fiercely protecting the nest. But, as soon as the falcons grow up, about a month after birth, they immediately have to leave the nest. Otherwise, there is a risk of running into aggression by their own parents, who feel in the young growth of natural competitors. Puberty in these birds comes at the age of one year.

Natural enemies

Falcon has quite a few enemies. These are almost all large predators. Also dangerous for them and the owls. Foxes and martens, weasels and ferrets rob the nests, eat the chicks. But the main enemy of the falcon is a man who destroys the ecosystem, destroying for fun or using poisons to cultivate agricultural areas.

Population and species status

At the moment, the Red Book contains the gyrfalcons, as a dwindling species. Under the threat of extinction Altai falcon. There is no reliable information that those individuals of the Altai falcon, which are now in the world, are genetically pure.

Important! Also endangered Saker Falcon, Peregrine Falcon and Kestrel.

Falcon is known to man for a long time. He was always used as an excellent hunter: a sharp-sighted, strong and lightning fast. This bird has long been a true friend of people who composed fairy tales about it, dedicated sagas and worshiped as a living deity. Kings of the airspace, formidable predators and unsurpassed hunters are all about falcons.

Falcon: description and photos of the bird. What do falcons look like?

Real falcons

Real falcons are the most perfect predators among birds. The size of the representatives of the genus are very different. Kobchiki and kestrels have a body length of 23-35 cm and a mass of from 100 to 250 g. Krechety grow up to 60 cm, and they weigh up to 2 kg on average. Males are smaller than females. In the color of falcon plumage, gray, red, brown, black and gray tones are more common. The abdominal side of the body is usually variegated.

1. Mediterranean Falcon (lat. Falco biarmicus), author of the photo: Derek Keats, CC BY 2.0. 2. Sparrow's Kestrel (lat. Falco sparverius), author of the photo: Mike’s Birds, CC BY-SA 2.0. 3. Common Kestrel (lat. Falco tinnunculus), author of the photo: Andreas Trepte, CC BY-SA 2.5. 4. Baloban (lat. Falco cherrug), author of the photo: Harold, CC BY-SA 3.0.

It is easy to distinguish a falcon by its characteristic vertical landing “column” and long pointed wings. The wings of a bird of prey significantly exceed the size of the tail. Their shape and length contribute to the development of considerable speed in a dive flight and agile maneuvering during vertical movement in the air.

The most high-speed flight among birds has a peregrine falcon. Diving to the prey from above, this falcon has a maximum speed of 322 km / h.

Author photo: Derek Keats, CC BY 2.0

Falcon tail striated. It is somewhat rounded at the end and has an impressive length.

Sparrow Kestrel (lat. Falco sparverius). Photo by: Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0

The head of the bird is large relative to the body and rounded. On its sides there are black “mustaches” expressed in varying degrees. The beak of the representatives of the genus is short, with a sharp hook at the end, very strong. A systematic feature of falcons are pronounced teeth on the cutting edge of the upper beak and the grooves on the opposite side - on the lower beak. Sticking, they form a formidable weapon.

Around the eye of a falcon is a bare, featherless ring. The eyes of the bird are round with a dark iris.

Author photo: Benjamint444, CC BY-SA 3.0

Real falcons have long legs with large legs, elongated toes and strong sharp claws. The lower (metatarsal) part of the cochlea is mesh.

The cry of falcons, peregrine falcons and other representatives of the genus is similar to a sharp, jerky and extended "ki - ki - ki ...".

According to the way of hunting and external features, all species of the genus can be divided into 3 groups:

This is a genus of birds from the falcon species. They are distinguished by red plumage in the upper parts of the body and a dense constitution. Differences are sometimes noticeable between females and males of the same species. They hunt, mainly on land animals: reptiles, insects and rodents.

They are slimmer and larger than the first, and their plumage on the back has a steel or dark shade. Black feathers ("whiskers") adorn the cheek parts of their heads. Cheglocks hunt for small birds.

  • Falcons, as we used to see them

Large birds, with a "mustache" and "cap" of the same color. Coloring has signs of the two previous groups. They have a gray dorsal part with reddish specks. There are horizontal stripes on the belly, and the torso is more colorful than on other members of the genus. All falcons of this group have dark gray tails in a transverse strip with a white edge. They hunt large birds and land animals.

Some scientists distinguish Saker Falcon, gyrfalcon, Lanner and Laggar as a separate taxon - suborder Hierofalco. Externally, these birds resemble hawks. Their contrasting plumage is dominated by bright brown and red tones, speckled belly or with short strokes.

1. Gray-bearded Kestrel (lat. Falco cenchroides), author of the photo: Patrick_K59, CC BY 2.0. 2. Turumti (lat. Falco chicquera), author of the photo: Cks3976, CC BY-SA 3.0. 3. South Mexican Falcon (lat. Falco femoralis), author of the photo: Elaine R. Wilson, Copyrighted free use. 4. Evening Falcon (lat. Falco rufigularis), author of the photo: Joao Quental, CC BY 2.0.

Forest falcons

Forest falcons have a striated belly and tail. By coloring, they resemble hawks, and by the likeness of a facial disc around the eyes - lunas. The sizes of birds vary. The smallest is the striped forest falcon (lat. Micrastur ruficollis), which has a body length of 30 - 38 cm and a mass of 150 - 200 g. The largest is a collar falcon (Latin). Micrastur semitorquatus) with a body length of 45-60 cm, weighing 500-750 g. Variations in coloring are characteristic for all members of the genus. There are light, dark, orange-red and striped forest falcons.

Author photo: Dario Sanches, CC BY-SA 2.0

American dwarf falcons

These are small birds with a body length from 28 to 30 cm, with rounded wings and a rounded tail, which do not have a clearly pronounced additional tooth on the mandible. The upper torso of birds is colored brownish. The bottom of the body is light, with mottled, striped tail, the wings are dark brown. A distinctive feature is the presence of small bright white specks on the covering feathers of the wings. Males, females and juveniles do not differ in coloring from each other.

Photo by: Jorge La Grotteria, All rights reserved

Falcons crumbs

These are the smallest representatives of the genus and the whole family. Their body length is 14-19 cm, wings - 9-12 cm, weight - 35-45 g. This genus includes the smallest feathered predator, white-footed falcon (Latin. Microhierax latifrons), an endemic of the island of Borneo, with a body length of 14-15 cm and a mass of 35-45 g. All falcons of this genus have a contrasting color: dark brown or black top and white bottom. Only the red-legged and black-legged dwarf falcons have a reddish or reddish belly. Some species are somewhat different in color, which is reflected in their names: white-fronted, sorochiy.

Left photo: Red-footed dwarf falcon (dregs) (lat. Microhierax caerulescens), author photo: Dr. Raju Kasambe, CC BY-SA 4.0. Right photo: Philippine dwarf falcon (Latin Microhierax erythrogenys), author of the photo: James Gagen, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Small falcons

The length of their body is 19-28 cm, weight is 45-70 g. The color of the birds is variegated.

African small falcon (lat. Polihierax semitorquatus) has ash-gray covering feathers of the wings and the same “cap” color. He has contrasting white "glasses" around the eyes, the same color as the back of the neck and the lower side of the body. On the back of the bird is a bright chestnut mantle, the eyes are framed by bare skin of bright red color, and the paws have the same bright red coloring.

In the Asian small falcon (lat. Polihierax insignis) females are colored brighter than males. They have a chestnut-red front part of the back, the same coloring of the “cap” on the head and neck. The male back and head are gray. The species is characterized by a bright white nadhvoste, orange-yellow bare rings around the eyes and the same color of the paw. The wings of birds are relatively short - 11-15 cm, but pointed falconly. The tail of small falcons has a length of 7-13 cm. There are small additional teeth along the edges of the upper mandible.

Author photo: Bernard DUPONT, CC BY-SA 2.0

Laughing falcons

This is a monotypic genus, represented by one species.

A laughing falcon is a bird with a dark brown back and the same wings, a striped tail and a motley golden-cream or straw lower body. The "cap" on the falcon's head is also straw and variegated. A black “mask” passes through the back of his head and eyes. Coloring and vertical landing laughing falcons are like members of the genus Falco, but differ from them in weight (400-650 g) and body length (45-50 cm).

Author photo: Andreas Trepte, CC BY-SA 4.0

Where do falcons live?

Real falcons live around the world, except Antarctica, being a cosmopolitan genus. Occur more often in open areas or alternate forest and plain spaces. You can also see them at the cliffs and cliffs. If the attitude of people towards them does not promise danger, then they settle near man-made landscapes, right down to the cities.

Different species occupy different habitats. Krechet prefers northern countries, lives more often at the ocean, in the tundra, where there are a lot of bird rock settlements. Peregrine falcons migrate, visiting throughout life Africa, America, Asia and Europe. Kestrels live in New Zealand, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Madagascar and Mauritius, the Seychelles, in Australia, in the steppes and semi-deserts of America and Eurasia, in African countries. Cheglocks are found on the islands of the Mediterranean, in Japan, Indonesia, on the Kuriles, Sakhalin, in New Guinea, in Australia, in African countries, on the shores of the Mediterranean - in Tunisia, Algeria, on the coasts of the Atlantic, on the Arabian Peninsula, in Finland, Norway , Sweden. Other members of the genus can be found in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, New Guinea, South America and the USA.

Laughing falcons inhabit the forests of the Amazon, and also occupy ranges from southern Mexico to Uruguay and northern Argentina.

Forest falcons are found in the humid tropical regions of Central and South America.

American dwarf falcons They live in the pampas and semi-deserts of northern Argentina.

Small falcons - inhabitants of semi-deserts and dry savannas of the north-east and south-west of Africa, as well as areas with rarely growing trees in Southeast Asia.

Dwarf falcons, or falcons, crumbs - resident birds living in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, from northern India and Southeast China to the Philippines and the Malay Archipelago.

Author photo: Henrik Schulze alias Smittel, CC BY-SA 4.0

Lifestyle and characteristics of falcons

The falcon is a brave, dexterous, intelligent and strong bird. He hunts in the morning or in the evening, and during the day he hides in secluded places and calmly digests prey. These birds have phenomenal vigilance: they notice the victim at a distance of 1.5 km.

Non-noble falcons (kestrels, dwarf falcons, red-footed falcons) often hold demonstrations, demonstrating the ability to make turns in flight. They play and joke, arrange a showy hunt for larger birds, tease them. Such falcons are easy to tame. Some of them are not at all afraid of people and settle closer to them: such is, for example, the red kestrel.

All falcons have the ability to fly very high, and few of them eat carrion. Noble species live in pairs, carefully guarding their family from predators and relatives. Almost all falcons wander, but some do it all the time, others fly away to hibernate, and still others fly only periodically. The American dwarf falcon flies well, but does so reluctantly. He prefers to climb trees and at the same time more like a parrot.

Author photo: Derek Keats, CC BY 2.0

Breeding falcons

Falcons are birds that tend to form pairs, and their marriage ceremony provides for demonstration flights. Male and female can rush down, clutching with claws, and fly like this about 10 meters. In addition, the male presents her friend a gift in its beak.

Falcons more often build nests themselves, but sometimes they are occupied by ready-made buildings of other birds of prey or corvids. Sometimes they force home from the owners. Small representatives can live in natural hollows of trees, indentations, niches or in artificial nests. Falcons live on rocks, cliffs, trees, in burrows, on tall buildings, in self-dug holes in the ground. The places for laying eggs of birds most often do not line with anything. At the bottom is only their litter, food debris and feathers fallen off.

Aleut (Black) Falcon's nest (Latin: Falco peregrinus pealei). Photo by: Cephas, CC BY-SA 3.0

Nest of a sapsana (an armor. Falco peregrinus). Author photo: Peter Wegner, CC BY-SA 3.0

Females lay from 1 to 6 round white eggs decorated with red-brown specks. Large falcons usually have a small clutch. The eggs are incubated by the female, although the male sometimes briefly replaces her. Hatching lasts a month. Sometimes parents make mistakes over time and can only sit successfully on the first chicks, since the gap between laying eggs is 1-2 days.

Left photo: Gyrfalcon egg (Latin Falco rusticolus), author photo: Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 4.0. Photo in the center: a falcon egg (lat. Falco vespertinus), author photo: Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 4.0. Photo on the right: common kestrel egg (lat. Falco tinnunculus), author of the photo: Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 3.0.

  1. Laughing falcons, or falcons, nests themselves are not built, but occupied by empty hollows, nests of other birds of prey and rock crevices. Lay 1-2 eggs, which incubates only the female. The male carries food to the female and the chicks while they are still small. Hatching lasts 40-65 days. Then both parents bring food. Nestlings leave the nest 8 weeks after hatching.
  2. Forest falcons make masonry in the cavities of trees, hollows, caves, crevices of rocks, abandoned houses. In the dry period, they lay 2-3 white eggs, incubating them during the rainy period for 33-48 days.
  3. Ecology American dwarf falcons poorly understood.
  4. Small falcons occupy other people's nests, most often built by weavers. In their laying 2-3 eggs covered with white shell.
  5. Dwarf falcons, or falcon falcons, more often build nests in hollows, lay eggs of white color. The African pygmy falcon dwells in the nests of social weavers.
  6. Real falcons:
    • Kestrels nest on rocks, in holes on the ground, on trees, including in hollows, on cliffs. In laying 4-6 yellow-brown, rusty-stained eggs,
    • gyrfalcon does not build nests, takes them away from buzzards or ravens, lining them with dry grass, moss and feathers,
    • the Red-footed falcon settles in abandoned nests forty and crows, less often in hollows and niches. The female lays up to 6 eggs and incubates them. The male takes care of her friend, feeds her,
    • Falcons for breeding chicks need space and the presence of a reservoir nearby. They nest more often on the ledges of rocks at a height of 20-80 m from the ground, in the tundra: along the banks of reservoirs or rocky outcrops. Less commonly, they occupy the nests of other birds. The Mexican falcon can also nest on the ground. Самка откладывает от 2 до 5 яиц красноватого или буровато-красного цвета с более темными крапинами.

Половой зрелости соколята достигают к году жизни. У молодых соколов крылья более широкие из-за развития маховых перьев. Это мешает им охотиться, но хорошо помогает научиться летать.

Детеныши сапсана (лат. Falco peregrinus). Автор фото: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York, CC BY 2.0

Чем питается сокол?

В добыче пернатых хищников преобладают грызуны, ящерицы, птицы и крупные насекомые. Также соколы могут поедать змей, лягушек, иногда рыб. Large species prey on medium-sized mammals: gophers, hares. Usually falcons catch prey in flight, catch up with a flying or running victim in a throw. Small animals grab beak, large stun or kill claws.

Laughing falcons (Laughing falcons) - gourmets, they prey on snakes, often poisonous, lizards, small rodents, bats and woodlice, and are also fishermen.

Forest falcons they eat small birds, they are able to attract individuals of passerines with characteristic sounds. They also catch lizards and rodents.

American dwarf falcons love to eat insects, small birds and lizards.

Small falcons they feed mainly on large insects, less often on lizards, snakes and small birds.

Dwarf falcons, or falcons, crumbs, small prey caught on the fly or from the graves, looking for it from the tops of tall trees. They eat butterflies, dragonflies, large beetles, termites, grasshoppers, small birds, mice, lizards.

Real falcons:

  • Kestrels on the hunt look out for a trembling flight or from the perch of small birds and large insects (dragonflies, beetles, crickets, locusts, grasshoppers, and Medvedok). They feed on small animals (bats and ordinary mice), frogs, lizards, snakes. The victim is grabbed with claws and killed by a blow of the beak in the back of the head,
  • the red-necked falcon catches small birds: swifts, swallows, larks, flying insects: beetles, dragonflies, bats,
  • Red-footed falcons are falcons that often hunt insects: grasshoppers, dragonflies, beetles. Less often they catch small rodents, amphibians and lizards. They eat sparrows, sometimes they can catch even larger birds, for example, a pigeon,
  • hocklocks prey on insects, bats and small birds: starlings, black swifts, roselles, sparrows. Occasionally they catch mice and other terrestrial animals,
  • noble falcons (derbnik, peregrine falcon, gyrfalcon, Saker falcon, ashen, etc.) catch birds: bee-eaters, orioles, sandpipers, swallows, larks, varakushek, wagtails, thrushes, hoopoes, small sparrows, scorpions, bats. Less often they feed on snakes, rodents, lizards and insects, rabbits, gophers, rats. Black falcon eats carrion. Gyrfalcon in the tundra feeds on the inhabitants of the bird bazaars (gulls and antics), tundra and white partridges, small passerines, lemmings, hares and squirrels. Caught prey of gyrfalcon carries to a nest or other safe place, there it breaks it.

Kobchik (lat. Falco vespertinus). Photo by Andy Morffew, CC BY 2.0

Falcon life expectancy

The maximum lifespan of a laughing falcon in nature was determined using a banding technique. She was 16 years and 3.5 months. In the zoo, birds of this genus lived to 14 years.

Unknown life expectancy of American dwarf, forest falcons and falcons, crumbs.

Presumably, the maximum life expectancy of representatives of the genus Small Falcons is 20 years.

As for the real falcons, then in the wild, the oldest individual of the kestrel lived to be 16 years old, the same date is observed for the falcon, who lived in captivity. The average life span of the kestrel is 11 years. Known case of longevity of the Peregrine Falcon: a bird in captivity lived for 25 years.

The world around us for children 6-9 years. Bird "Falcon"

Falcon is a wintering bird of prey. He has a quick soaring flight. Hard curved beak, very sharp eyesight. The plumage of a falcon is colored brownish-beige. Claws on paws are sharp, sharp as knives.

Falcons nest on the tops of tall trees or in the hollows of the rocky mountains, warming their dwellings with down, feathers, and blades of grass.

Falcon usually soars high in a clear blue sky, looking for prey. Seeing a small bird, hare, ferret or some other small animal, he throws himself at him with a stone, tears him with sharp claws and his beak.

Did you know that falcons are often used by hunters in hunting? Hunters with specially trained birds are called falconers or falconers.


I am going to Sokolniki. Old

There were groves, swamps,

And falconry kept

Sokolniki taught birds

Like a stone, fall on foxes.

In a bloody duel with her

Claw her, clinging to her neck,

And with a beak to tear, and beat with a wing.

Only the park will remind about the past:

No birds, no groves - as it never happened!

Here are modern quarters

And only in the names sometimes hidden

Long gone life layer.

Answer the questions

• What does a falcon look like?

• What does he eat?

• Where do falcons nest?

• Why is one of the districts of Moscow called Sokolniki?

• Who hunted in Sokolniki?

• What did Sokolniki look like in ancient times?

Enemies of Falcons in the Wild

All large predators are not averse to eat falcon meat, including the eagle owl. Eggs from their clutch often steal martens, ferrets, foxes and weasels. Most of the falcons are dying due to the destruction of their habitats by humans, reduction of food supply, and disturbance at nesting sites. Often, birds die on unprotected power lines.

Derbnik fight (lat. Falco columbarius). Author photo: Bear Golden Retriever, CC BY 2.0

The benefits and harm of falcons for humans

Falcons are the orderlies of nature, they destroy many rodents. Thereby regulate their number and in passing ensure the preservation of the grain harvest by a person.

Many species of falcons are easily tamed. They can help people hunt, guarding flocks of sheep from predators, gardens and fields from smaller grain, fruit and vegetable-eating birds. The Falcons are in the official state service for the protection of the Kremlin monuments of Moscow. They drive away crows, pigeons and other anthropogenic birds from golden domes, thereby saving building elements from erosion and subsequent destruction. At the airport in Brazil, falcons along with hawks also drive the crow away from the runway. They prevent accidents that can occur with aircraft due to large concentrations of birds.

Sokolov, as well as other predatory birds, is guarded everywhere, despite the fact that sometimes they can carry away poultry, including chickens. But this happens only due to the failure of the owners.

Interesting facts about falcons

  • The largest of the falcons is the gyrfalcon. The span of its wings is 125-160 cm. Only about 1000 pairs of gyrfalcons dwell in Russia.
  • The smallest falcon in the world is the Mauritius kestrel (lat. Falcopunctatus). Their number has decreased due to deforestation in the bird's habitat. Today in nature there are only 2 pairs of these rare falcons.
  • Muti is a falcon up to 20 cm in size. It attacks birds that exceed its size: quails, thrushes, and thymelias (lat. Garrulax). In India, tamed dregs were used for hunting. The owner held the bird in his hand, so the name of the falcon appeared: “dregs” means “handful”.
  • Falcon is depicted on the arms of the UAE, Kyrgyzstan and Iceland.
  • In ancient Egypt, the falcon was revered, it was considered the incarnation of the sun god Ra.
  • Falconry appeared about 2500 years ago. From the East to Europe, starting from the XII century, this passion was delivered by knights returning from the crusades. European nobility was fond of falconry, and trained birds were very expensive.
  • In different countries for hunting used different types of falcons. Russian lovers hunted with gyrfalcons and peregrine falcons, Iranian - with a red-headed falcon, Middle Eastern - with Saker Falcons, Indian - with turumdi and dregs. In the US, and now hunt with the American, or the sparrow kestrel (Latin. Falco sparverius).
  • Bone bumps in front of the nostrils help falcons redirect airflow from the nose during a high-speed flight.

Saker Falcon (lat. Falco cherrug). Author photo: DickDaniels, CC BY-SA 3.0