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Birds Guide


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Hybrid white gyrfalcon and saker falcon.
Hybrid white gyrfalcon and saker falcon.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Falconiformes
Family: Falconidae
Genus: Falco
Linnaeus, 1758
About 37; see text.

A Falcon is any of several species of raptors in the genus Falco. The word came from Latin falco, from Latin falx = "sickle" because of the shape of its wings.


Falcons have thin pointed wings, which give them speed and the ability to change direction rapidly. Peregrine Falcons, the fastest birds on Earth, are said to have reached stoop speeds of up to 200 mph.

Young falcons in their first year have longer flight feathers than adults. This makes their configuration more like a general-purpose bird such as a broadwing while they are learning how to fly.

Other falcons include the Gyrfalcon, Lanner Falcon, and the Merlin. Some small insectivorous falcons with long, narrow wings are called hobbies, and some which sometimes hover as they hunt for small rodents are called kestrels.

The traditional term for a male falcon is a "tiercel", from Latin tertius, because it is roughly a third smaller than the female.

An eyass is a raptor chick still in its downy stage: the word arose by misdivision of Old French un niais, from Latin presumed *nidiscus, from Latin nidus = "nest". Or it is sometime sused for a falcon which had been taken from its nest before it flew.

The technique of hunting with trained captive birds of prey is known as falconry.

The falcons are part of the family Falconidae, which also includes the caracaras, Laughing Falcon, forest falcons, and falconets.

In February 2005 the Canadian scientist Dr Louis Lefebvre announced a method of measuring avian IQ in terms of their innovation in feeding habits. Falcons were named among the most intelligent birds based on this scale.

Falcon fossils have been found dated 50 million years ago in the Eocene in the Messel Pit in Germany.

Species in taxonomic order

Common Kestrel
Common Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon
New Zealand Falcon
New Zealand Falcon
  • Lesser Kestrel, Falco naumanni
    Common Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus
    Madagascar Kestrel, Falco newtoni
    Mauritius Kestrel, Falco punctatus
    Seychelles Kestrel, Falco araea
    Spotted Kestrel, Falco moluccensis
    Nankeen Kestrel, Falco cenchroides
    American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
    Greater Kestrel, Falco rupicoloides
    Fox Kestrel, Falco alopex
    Grey Kestrel, Falco ardosiaceus
    Dickinson's Kestrel, Falco dickinsoni
    Banded Kestrel, Falco zoniventris
    Red-necked Falcon, Falco chicquera
    Red-footed Falcon, Falco vespertinus
    Amur Falcon, Falco amurensis
    Eleonora's Falcon, Falco eleonorae
    Sooty Falcon, Falco concolor
    Aplomado Falcon, Falco femoralis
    Merlin Falcon, Falco columbarius
    Bat Falcon, Falco rufigularis
    Orange-breasted Falcon, Falco deiroleucus
    Eurasian Hobby, Falco subbuteo
    African Hobby, Falco cuvierii
    Oriental Hobby, Falco severus
    Australian Hobby, Falco longipennis
    New Zealand Falcon, Falco novaeseelandiae
    Brown Falcon, Falco berigora
    Grey Falcon, Falco hypoleucos
    Lanner Falcon, Falco biarmicus
    Laggar Falcon, Falco jugger
    Saker Falcon, Falco cherrug
    Black Falcon, Falco subniger
    Gyr Falcon, Falco rusticolus
    Prairie Falcon, Falco mexicanus
    Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus
        Barbary Falcon, Falco (peregrinus) pelegrinoides
    Taita Falcon, Falco fasciinucha

External links

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| Eagles
| Falconry
| Falcon
| Harrier
| Kites
| Old World vulture
| Owls
| True hawks

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This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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