FWS Focus


Medium to large falcon, with bluish-gray upperparts (becoming more blackish on head) in adults, variable-width blackish facial stripe extending down from eye across malar, this stripe usually set off by pale auriculars or "cheek," but pattern sometimes obscured if cheek all dark; underparts whitish, grayish, or buffy with variable amount of blackish spotting and barring; under wing and under tail surfaces barred pale gray and black. Immature similar but upperparts vary from pale to slate or chocolate brown and underparts buffy with blackish streaks. Sexes best distinguished by size, with females larger and heavier than males; normally no size overlap between sexes within a given subspecies. Females also more heavily marked below on average than males. No seasonal variation in plumage other than muted or lessening of colors as feathers wear, but bare parts of male brighter in breeding season.

References cited in Species Profile

  • Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 2015. Peregrine Falcon. All About Birds. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Peregrine_Falcon/id
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 2009. Peregrine Falcon Management Plan.
  • White, Clayton M., Nancy J. Clum, Tom J. Cade and W. Grainger Hunt. 2002. Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/660
  • Sherrod, S. K. 1978. Diets of North American Falconiformes. Raptor Res. 12:49-121.

Scientific Name

Falco peregrinus
Common Name
Peregrine Falcon
FWS Category

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Identification Numbers



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