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Utah's wild animals

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Peregrine falcon cam

Peregrine falcon facts

  • Scientific name: Falco peregrinus (In Latin, peregrinus means wandering.)
  • Distribution: Cosmopolitan, but mainly in arctic to temperate regions
  • Status: Formerly listed by the U.S. government as endangered, but recently delisted
  • Life span: 10 to 12 years; 20 years in captivity
  • Length: 10 to 20 inches (females are larger than the males)
  • Wingspan: 36 to 45 inches (females are larger than the males)
  • Weight: 1 pound 4 ounces to 2 pounds 12 ounces
  • Plumage: In most plumages, the dark head appears hooded; slate grey-backed (dark brown-backed as juvenile) with cream-colored underparts, thick dark "mustache" (malar) mark below eye
  • Eyesight: Up to eight times better than human vision
  • Song: In protest, a loud, rapidly-repeated "kak, kak, kak"
  • Flight speed: Clocked at 175 to 200 mph in vertical stoop or when diving from great heights upon prey
  • Appearance in flight: Active flight is with shallow, but stiff and powerful wingbeats; soaring is on flat wings and a widely fanned tail; gliding is with wings level or with writs below the body and the wingtips up
  • Abundance and seasonal status: Nests in Utah; occasionally seen during fall migration and sometimes is a winter resident
  • Nesting habits: Tall, sheer cliff faces, often within 14 miles of water; occasionally on bridges, buildings and towers
  • Number of eggs in clutch: Typically three to four
  • Wintering habits: Southern North America, Central America and South America
  • Food: Almost exclusively birds, nearly always caught in mid-flight; fledglings often chase after and catch flying insects, such as dragonflies
  • Factors responsible for decline: Pesticides, habitat loss, pollution, poisoning and shooting
  • Factors responsible for recovery: The ban in the use of the pesticide DDT in 1972 is believed to have contributed significantly to the recovery; in recent years, the outlook for the birds improved enough that they have been delisted from the federal endangered species list

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