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Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Peregrine falcon

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.


Peregrine falcon


peregrine falcon

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 nest March - May and lay 2-5 eggs. 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.


Distribution map: View a map showing the towns where this species is reported to occur in NH Image Icon


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