What Do Peregrine Falcons Eat | Peregrine Falcon’s Feeding and Diet

The peregrine falcon (Falconidae) is admired for its spectacular diving attacks at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour. They are so quick in the air that they could even get hold of the most acrobatic birds. Unique among falcon’s behavior is that it hunts other birds in the air.

What Do Peregrine Falcons Eat

Peregrine falcons will strike birds with the devastating impact as birds make much of the falcon’s diet. Falcons that live in the coastal regions are known to feed on seabirds.

The peregrine falcon’s diet includes 95% of medium-sized birds such as songbirds, pigeons, waders, doves, and waterfowl.

According to a rough estimate, falcons eat around 1,500 to 2,000 different bird species worldwide.

The prey can be as small as hummingbirds (weighing only 3 grams) to as large as sandhill crane (weighs up to 3.1 kg). However peregrine falcons prey on birds that weigh up to 20 grams such as small passerines.

Falcons will consume around 100 shorebirds which is the most birds predated by any bird in the North America. They also feed on owls and hawks including sharp-shinned hawks, American kestrel, merlin, feral pigeons, and rock pigeons.

Dig Deeper: Peregrine Falcon Facts For Kids

Here is a list of birds that peregrine falcons feed regularly;

  1. Common wood pigeons
  2. Mourning doves
  3. Common swifts
  4. Northern flickers
  5. Common starlings
  6. American robins
  7. Magpies
  8. Carrion
  9. American crows
  10. House crows
  11. Common blackbirds
  12. Scarlet ibis
  13. Ducks
  14. Gulls
  15. Hummingbirds
  16. Pigeons
  17. Doves
  18. Waders
  19. Shorebirds
  20. Songbirds
  21. Yellow-billed cuckoo
  22. Black-necked grebe
  23. Virginia rail
  24. Common quail
  25. Water Rail
  26. Little Tachybaptus ruficollis
  27. Corn Crake
  28. Common Snipe
  29. Jack Snipe
  30. Woodcock
  31. Thrushes
  32. Barn Swallow
  33. Tree Pipit
  34. Turtle Dove
  35. Northern Wheatear
  36. Dunnocks
  37. Common Swifts
  38. Fork-tailed Storm-petrels
  39. Leach’s Storm-petrels
  40. Cassin’s Auklets
  41. Eurasian Teals
  42. Moorhens
  43. Noctule bats
  44. Mallard
  45. Ruddy duck
  46. Black-headed Gull
  47. Common Redshank
  48. Sky Lark
  49. Yellowhammer
  50. Goldfinch
what do peregrine falcons eat
Peregrine falcon feeding on a bird ©joeelway.deviantart.com

The bird also preys on small mammals such as;

  • Shrews
  • Squirrels
  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Voles
  • Hares

The most dramatic of all falcon’s attack is the way it takes on the resting bird on the treetops.

Falcons living in the mangrove swamp, are more apt to feed on scarlet ibis. They supplement their diet with some insects and reptiles such as lizards, grasshoppers, dragonflies, and rodents. The dawn and the dusk are the peak timings when falcons come out to hunt.

Falcons are able to carry prey which is even heavier than itself but only for short distances. In the Caribbean, they will hunt Rock Doves, ducks, and shorebirds. The diet also includes fruit pigeons and boobies.

Peregrine falcons fly extremely high and at that height they spot the prey with precision. Moments later, the bird will scoop down and once it starts diving it never changes its direction for it can’t. Thus it is quite reasonable to assume that most falcons’ dives end up failure.

They are thought to soar or glide while searching some low-flying birds far below.

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A professional writer and a passionate wildlife enthusiast, who is mostly found hooked to his laptop or in libraries researching about the wildlife.