380mm in length. Wingspan between 85 and 100cm. Generally deep blue-grey above
with dark cross bars. Outer flight feathers dusky with hidden grey-white bars.
Underwing coverts buff barred with black. Barred tail tipped grey-white. Head,
nape, sides of head and cheeks are black. Neck and breast pale cream-buff marked
with black spots or streaks. Underparts greyish buff crossed with numerous fine
black bars. Eye brown with bright yellow eye ring. Bill bone with black tip. Cere
yellow, feet pale yellow. Claws black.
The Peregrine Falcon can be found throughout all of Australia (and on most continents) and is known for its speed being the fastest bird on earth, reaching speeds of 300km per hour. It will attack and kill any small to medium sized bird that flies in the open, and has also been known to attack birds bigger then itself. Although birds are the almost exclusive diet of the Peregrine Falcon, it will also take rabbits and other small mammals. The falcon swoops on its prey from above and seizes it with its powerful feet with large sharp talons, the prey is stunned on impact and usually drops to the ground where the falcon will collect it. Smaller birds can be seized mid air. The Peregrine Falcon mates for life and pairs occupy a home range of approximately 20 to 50 square kilometers. As breeding season nears, unmated males make circling display flights to court females. Mated pairs perform "sky dances" where they swoop and tumble over one another. Breeding season is from August to December and nests are lain in recesses in cliffs, hollows of a tree or in large, abandoned nests of other birds. Ledges of buildings are also used for birds living in built up areas. Between two and four eggs are laid and incubation is approximately 30 days, mainly by the female. The female undertakes most of the caring of the chicks with the male relieving her for short periods. The male does most of the hunting and drops food at the nest for the female and chicks. Young fledge in five to six weeks. The Peregrine Falcon is becoming rarer in recent years due to the thinning and breaking of egg shells caused by volatile insecticides.