Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)
Photos by Chris Martin, NH Audubon
Falcon cam! Live from Manchester: www.spectraaccess.com/falcon2
NH Conservation Status: Threatened
Federal Status: Not listed
Peregrine falcons are legally protected in New Hampshire. Possession and take (which includes harming, harassing, injuring and killing) is illegal.
Distribution: Breeds mostly in the White Mountains, with a few further north and one to the south in Manchester. May be seen during fall migration which peaks in early-mid October.
Description: 14-19” long with a 39-43” wingspan. Blue-gray back, barred white or buff color underneath, and a dark head with black sideburns.
Voice: “kak, kak, kak”
Commonly Confused Species: Merlins are similar in color but smaller in size.
Habitat: Found in a variety of habitats, most with cliffs for nesting and open areas for foraging. Also found in large cities where it nests on buildings.
Nesting: Peregrine falcons begin breeding at one year of age and pairs mate for life. Females lay 2-5 eggs in the spring and young hatch after about 30 days of incubation. Chicks are able to fly when they are 35-42 days old.
Diet: Peregrines feed mostly on medium-sized birds, but may also prey on small mammals and reptiles. It is a very fast flier especially in pursuit of prey which they catch in flight.
For more information:
- Peregrine Project from the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program
- Peregrine falcon profile from the NH Wildlife Action Plan (PDF - 196 KB)