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Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus)

Gyrfalcon Photo credit: Gyrfalcon @ Dreamstime.com

NH Conservation Status: Not listed.

 

Federal Status: Not listed; Gyrfalcons are legally protected in New Hampshire. Possession and take (which includes harming, harassing, injuring and killing) is illegal.

 

Distribution: Rare winter visitor. One was documented in Hampton, NH in December 2013.

 

Description: The largest falcon in the world measuring over 2 feet long with a 4 foot wingspan. Adults can vary in color from white to gray to black and barring and streaks varies as well.

 

Voice:“kak-kak-kak” or “chup-chup-chup”

 

Commonly Confused Species: Peregrine falcons are similar in color to the gray morph gyrfalcon and have similar facial patterns but peregrines are much smaller and have more distinct gray and white facial patterns.

 

Habitat: Breeds in tundra; winters at lower latitudes in open country near open water.

 

Nesting: Does not build its own nest. Uses nests made by ravens or golden eagles, usually located on cliffs.

 

Diet: Primarily ptarmigan but also ducks, geese, gulls, owls, and songbirds.