American Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum)

Federal Register | Recovery | Critical Habitat | Conservation Plans | Petitions | Life History

Listing Status:   

General Information

The peregrine falcon belongs to the genus "Falco," which is characterized by long pointed wings. In fact the word Falco is derived from "falx," the Latin word for sickle, in reference to the distinct sickle-shaped silhouette of the peregrine falcon’s extended wings in flight. Also unique to this species is the notched beak that is used to kill prey by severing the spinal column at the neck. The peregrine falcon is a crow-sized bird, weighing just over two pounds with a wing span of approximately 3 feet. An adult peregrine has a dark grey back and crown, dark bars or streaks on a pale chest and abdomen, and heavy malar (cheek) stripes on the side of the face. Immature peregrines are buff colored in front and have dark brown backs; adults are white or buff in front and bluish-gray on their backs. Females and males are identical in appearance, however, the female can be a third larger than the male.

Citations:

  • Goodrich, L.J., and J.P. Smith. 2008. Raptor migration in North America. Pp. 37-149 in K.L. Bildstein, J.P. Smith, E. Ruelas Inzunza, and R.R. Veit (eds.), State of North America's birds of prey Nuttall Ornithological Club, Cambridge, MA, and American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C
  • White, Clayton M., Nancy J. Clum, Tom J. Cade and W. Grainger Hunt. 2002. Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/660
  • Wheeler, B.K., C.M. White and J.M. Economidy. 2003. Raptors of Western North America: The Wheeler Guide

  • States/US Territories in which the American Peregrine falcon is known to or is believed to occur:  Arizona , Colorado , Oklahoma
  • US Counties in which the American Peregrine falcon is known to or is believed to occur:  View All
  • USFWS Refuges in which the American Peregrine falcon is known to occur:  Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge, Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge, Amagansett National Wildlife Refuge, Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge  ... Show All Refuges
  • Additional species information
 
Current Listing Status Summary
Status Date Listed Lead Region Where Listed
06/02/1970 California/Nevada Region (Region 8)

» Federal Register Documents

Federal Register Documents
Date Citation Page Title
10/13/2006 71 FR 60563 Post-Delisting Monitoring Results for the American Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum), 2003
11/25/1998 63 FR 65165 65166 ETWP; Extension of Comment Period and Notice of Public Hearings on Proposed Rule to Remove the Peregrine Falcon in North America From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
10/13/1970 35 FR 16047 16048 Appendix D - United States List of Endangered Native Fish and Wildlife; 35 FR 16047 16048
04/14/1970 35 FR 6069 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Endangered Species Conservation); 35 FR 6069
12/03/2003 68 FR 67697 67698 Notice of Availability of the Post-Delisting Monitoring Plan for the American Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum)
01/31/2000 4603 Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Receipt of an Application for Incidental Take Permits for the Tacoma Water Department, Green River Watershed, Habitat Conservation Plan, King County, Washington
06/04/2004 69 FR 31632 31635 Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report for an Incidental Take Permit for the Multiple Habitat Consrevation Program, Carlsbad, CA
08/30/1976 41 FR 36516 Proposed Critical Habitat for the American Peregrine Falcon; 41 FR 36516
07/31/2001 66 FR 39523 39523 DOI, FWS; Availability of Proposed Monitoring Plan for American Peregrine Falcons in the United States for Review and Comment: Notice of document availability
09/27/2001 66 FR 49395 49395 Proposed Monitoring Plan for American Peregrine Falcons in the United States
03/15/2000 65 FR 13947 13948 Extension of Public Comment Period for Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Application for an Incidental Take Permit for the Tacoma Water Department, Green River Watershed, Habitat Conservation Plan, King County, Washington
01/05/2001 66 FR 1089 1091 Availability of a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Tacoma Water Department Habitat Conservation Plan, King County, WA
08/25/1999 64 FR 46543 46558 ETWP; Final Rule to Remove the American Peregrine Falcon From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, and To Remove the Similarity of Appearance Provision for Free-Flying Peregrines in the Conterminous United States
09/22/1977 42 FR 47840 47845 Final Correction and Augumentation of Critical Habitat Reorganization; 42 FR 47840 47845
01/20/1999 64 FR 3066 3067 Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement Regarding Proposed Issuance of an Incidental Take Permit to the City of Tacoma, Washington, for Water Storage and Withdrawal and Forest Management in the Green River Watershed, King County, Washington
01/03/2005 70 FR 101 102 Information Collection Renewal To Be Submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Approval Under the Paperwork Reduction Act; Monitoring Recovered Species After Delisting As Required Under Section 4(g) of the Endangered Species Act – American Peregrine Falcon; 1018-0101
03/25/2005 70 FR 15344 15346 Information Collection Renewal Submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act; OMB Control Number 1018-0101; Monitoring Recovered Species After Delisting As Required Under Section 4(g) of the Endangered Species Act – American Peregrine Falcon
11/04/2002 67 FR 67209 67210 Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior:Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement and Habitat Conservation Plan for the Natomas Basin, Sacramento County, CA; Extension of comment period and notice of availability.
12/31/2001 66 FR 67539 67541 Information Collection for Monitoring Species After Delisting Under The Endangered Species Act. [30-day notice for American peregrine falcon post-delisting monitoring plan]
03/01/1983 48 FR 8796 8802 Proposed Reclassification of Peregrine Falcon in No. Amer.; 48 FR 8796- 8802
08/26/1998 63 FR 45446 45463 ETWP; Proposed Rule To Remove the Peregrine Falcon in North America From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
03/20/1984 49 FR 10520 10526 Reclassification of Arctic Peregrine Falcon & Clarification of Status in WA & Elsewhere in Coterminous US; 49 FR 10520-10526
03/07/2005 70 FR 11022 11024 Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for Issuance of an Incidental Take Permit Associated with a Habitat Conservation Plan for Western Placer County, CA
06/30/1995 60 FR 34406 34409 ETWP: Notice of a Proposed rule to move the American Peregine Falcon From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
06/12/1991 56 FR 26969 26971 ETWP; Request for Information on the Arctic and American Peregrine Falcons; 56 FR 26969 26971
08/11/1977 42 FR 40685 40690 Determination of Critical Habitat for Six Endangered Species Including Palila, Renumbering of Critical Habitat Listings; 42 FR 40685 40690 (Florida Everglades kite, Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus; American peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus anatum; palila Psittirostra bailleui; dusky seaside sparrow, Ammospiza maritima nigrescens; Cape Sable sparrow, Ammospiza maritima mirabilis; Morro Bay kangaroo rat, Dipodomus heermanni morroensis)
10/10/2001 66 FR 51680 51682 Information Collection To Be Submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act [60-day notice for American peregrine falcon post-delisting monitoring plan]
08/25/1970 35 FR 13519 13520 Notice of Proposed Rule Making (Conservation of Endangered Species and Other Fish or Wildlife)
06/02/1970 35 FR 8491 8498 Part 17 - Conservation of Endangered Species and Other Fish or Wildlife (First List of Endangered Foreign Fish and Wildlife as Appendix A)

» Recovery

Other Recovery Documents
Date Citation Page Title Document Type
10/13/2006 71 FR 60563 Post-Delisting Monitoring Results for the American Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum), 2003
  • Notice Doc. Availability
12/03/2003 68 FR 67697 67698 Notice of Availability of the Post-Delisting Monitoring Plan for the American Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum)
  • Notice Doc. Availability
08/26/1998 63 FR 45446 45463 ETWP; Proposed Rule To Remove the Peregrine Falcon in North America From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
  • Proposed Delisting, Recovered
08/25/1999 64 FR 46543 46558 ETWP; Final Rule to Remove the American Peregrine Falcon From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, and To Remove the Similarity of Appearance Provision for Free-Flying Peregrines in the Conterminous United States
  • Final Delisting, Recovered
07/31/2001 66 FR 39523 39523 DOI, FWS; Availability of Proposed Monitoring Plan for American Peregrine Falcons in the United States for Review and Comment: Notice of document availability
  • Notice Doc. Availability
Delisting Documents
Date Title
12/03/2003 American peregrine falcon PDM plan

» Critical Habitat

Date Citation Page Title Document Type Status
09/22/1977 42 FR 47840 47845 Final Correction and Augumentation of Critical Habitat Reorganization; 42 FR 47840 47845 Final Rule Final designated
08/11/1977 42 FR 40685 40690 Determination of Critical Habitat for Six Endangered Species Including Palila, Renumbering of Critical Habitat Listings; 42 FR 40685 40690 (Florida Everglades kite, Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus; American peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus anatum; palila Psittirostra bailleui; dusky seaside sparrow, Ammospiza maritima nigrescens; Cape Sable sparrow, Ammospiza maritima mirabilis; Morro Bay kangaroo rat, Dipodomus heermanni morroensis) Final Rule Not Required
08/30/1976 41 FR 36516 Proposed Critical Habitat for the American Peregrine Falcon; 41 FR 36516 Proposed Rule Not Required

To learn more about critical habitat please see http://ecos.fws.gov/crithab

» Conservation Plans

Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) (learn more)
HCP Plan Summaries
Assessment District 161
Cedar River Watershed HCP
City of Tacoma, Tacoma Water HCP
Clark County Multiple Species HCP (7 permittees)
Hell Canyon
Humboldt Redwood Company (formerly Pacific Lumber, Headwaters)
Kern Water Bank
MHCP, City of Carlsbad Habitat Management Plan
MSCP, City of Chula Vista Subarea Plan
MSCP, City of La Mesa Subarea Plan
MSCP, City of Poway Subarea Plan
MSCP, City of San Diego Subarea Plan
MSCP, County of San Diego Subarea Plan
Natomas Basin, Metro Air Park
North Peak Development Project
Orange County Central/Coastal NCCP/HCP
Port Blakely RB Eddy Tree Farm
Regli Estates
San Diego Gas & Electric
WDNR Forest Lands HCP
Western Riverside MSHCP (One permit w/ 22 permittees)
West Fork Timber HCP (formerly Murray Pacific)
Candidate Conservation Agreements (CCA): (learn more)
CCA Plan Summaries
Spring Mountains National Recreation Area

» Petitions

» Life History

Habitat Requirements

The habitat of the Peregrine Falcon includes many terrestrial biomes in North America. Most often, breeding Peregrine Falcons utilize habitats containing cliffs and almost always nest near water (Wheeler 2003, p. 477, White et al. 2002). Peregrine Falcons generally utilize open habitats for foraging. Non-breeding Peregrine Falcons may also occur in open areas without cliffs. Many artificial habitats like towers, bridges and buildings are also utilized by Peregrine Falcons (White et al. 2002).

Food Habits

Peregrine Falcons prey on a select group of species in regional and local areas, and their selections may vary seasonally. Their prey mainly consists of birds ranging from small passerines to mid-sized waterfowl. They may also feed on bats. Juveniles primarily feed on large flying insects (Wheeler 2003, p. 477). Peregrine Falcons are active throughout the day from dawn to dusk and can even be nocturnal. They usually hunt in the morning and late evening (Wheeler 2003, p. 477). Peregrine Falcons are aerial and perching hunters that rarely scavenge. From perches, Peregrines dive quickly to capture prey. In an aerial attack, Peregrine Falcons will dive at high speed while gliding, soaring or kiting at a low altitude. Prey is often eaten while soaring, gliding or kiting (Wheeler 2003, p. 478).

Movement / Home Range

The breeding range of the Peregrine Falcon is significantly diminished from its original range due to the impacts of DDT and other chemical poisons; and is local and spotty throughout most of North America. Areas where the range is particularly diminished are the mid-western and eastern United States, where most of the distribution is urban, but reportedly growing quickly. Areas of Alaska and the western United States including Utah, Arizona, western Colorado and northern California are where the Peregrine Falcon is most widely found (White et al. 2002). The Peregrine Falcon is a long-distance migrant that travels one of the longest distances of any raptor and may undertake long water crossings. It is a leap-frog migrant that commonly follows leading and diversion lines and that travels alone or in small groups of 10-20 individuals. Peregrine Falcons hunt during migration and may stay as long as eight days at stopovers for this purpose. Satellite tracked individuals have been shown to migrate distances of between 87-124 miles per day. Migration for Peregrine Falcons occurs mostly from morning through late afternoon. Migration movements can be broad front or narrow front in form. The Peregrine Falcon is known to migrate at heights at or below 2,953 ft. The Peregrine has clear migration routes which either occur along leading lines or coastal areas with ideal habitat on the Eastern and Gulf Coasts and Eastern Mexico such as Chincoteague and Assateague Island in MD and VA and Padre Island, TX and Veracruz, Mexico. Peregrines also migrate in lesser concentrations along shores of the Great Lakes, the West Coast of the U.S., western Mexico, and the eastern front of the Rocky Mountains (Goodrich and Smith 2008, p. 138).

Reproductive Strategy

Peregrine Falcons build their nests in substrates on ledges of cliffs ranging from 8-400 m in height. The male creates a depression in the substrate by scraping it with his feet. Most Peregrine Falcons will use ledges used by other Peregrines in previous years. Peregrines arrive at nest sites around April or May and egg laying may begin from two weeks to two months later depending on the latitude.

Other

All Peregrine Falcon subspecies fall victim to illegal shooting in North America and on wintering grounds. Poisoning, especially from organochlorides was historically responsible for severe Peregrine declines; however, following the DDT ban, levels of this poison significantly decreased, and Peregrine Falcon populations have since made a full recovery (Wheeler 2003, p. 490). Peregrine Falcons still fall victim to poisoning, but no poisons are presently known to have impacts to Peregrine Falcons at the population level in North America (White et al. 2002). Adult mortality sources also include electrocution from utility wires and poles. Juveniles collide with several anthropogenic structures and vehicles including windows, cars and trains and succumb to natural predators and mortality resulting territorial aggression (Wheeler 2003, p. 490). Human disturbance near nests can also cause decreased nest success (Wheeler 2003, p. 491).

» Other Resources

NatureServe Explorer Species Reports -- NatureServe Explorer is a source for authoritative conservation information on more than 50,000 plants, animals and ecological communtities of the U.S and Canada. NatureServe Explorer provides in-depth information on rare and endangered species, but includes common plants and animals too. NatureServe Explorer is a product of NatureServe in collaboration with the Natural Heritage Network.

ITIS Reports -- ITIS (the Integrated Taxonomic Information System) is a source for authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

FWS Digital Media Library -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library is a searchable collection of selected images, historical artifacts, audio clips, publications, and video.