Department of Environmental Conservation

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Peregrine Falcon - Watchable Wildlife

Did You Know?

A female peregrine falcon in an urban area
Peregrine falcon - Falco peregrinus
Photo: Barbara Loucks, DEC
  • Peregrines can attain speeds of 200 mph as they plunge from tremendous heights in pursuit of prey, which is primarily birds.
  • Many New York State cities boast peregrine falcon nests on bridges and tall buildings.
  • Peregrine falcons may live as long as 20 years.
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What to Watch for:

Size:

Peregrine falcons are about the size of a crow. Females are bigger than males.

Appearance:

Adult peregrines are slate-grey above and pale below, marked with horizontal barring on their underparts.

Immature peregrines are brown with vertical streaks on the underparts. All have a wide dark cheek patch or "moustache " mark below the eye.

Where to Watch:

Peregrine falcons are found in open country - tundra, savannah, sea coasts, and high mountains, as well as in urban areas.

Nests are built on high ledges, generally 50 to 200 feet off the ground.

What to Listen for:

Wailing call - a long drawn out scream
Cacking call - cack-cack-cack

When to Watch:

Year round, but especially during the nesting season from March through July.

More Information about Peregrine Falcons:

Watch a clip about Peregrine Falcons and check out other clips on DEC's YouTube Channel.

The Best Places to See Peregrine Falcons:

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