Falcons

Gyrfalcon

Gyrfalcon, photo by Ólafur Larsen courtesy of Wiki Commons.

At 22 inches in length and with a wingspan of 47 inches, gyrfalcon is the largest falcon. It is sexually dimorphic not by color but by size, with males weighing about two-thirds as much as females. Its color and plumage pattern is highly variable, ranging from nearly pure white to dark brownish gray, with intermediate… See details »

Merlin

Merlin (Photo by Bill Thompson III)

The merlin is a medium-sized falcon, larger than an American kestrel and more heavily streaked overall. Its streakiness makes it look very dark. In flight, the merlin is a direct and speedy flier, and it rarely hovers (as kestrels do) or perches in one place for extended periods. The male is dark above and the… See details »

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon (Photo by Kevin Cole/Wikimedia)

Large and powerful, the peregrine looks like a kestrel on steroids. It flies with smooth but shallow wing strokes, easily generating great speed. Wingspan is 3.5 feet wide (41 inches). When a peregrine flies into sight, waterfowl and shorebirds usually take off in a panic. This is a good clue to the presence of this… See details »

American Kestrel

American Kestrel (Photo by USFWS)

The American Kestrel is North America's smallest falcon. In flight, the kestrel has sharp-looking, pointed wings and a slender, long tail. In comparison to the merlin and peregrine falcon, it is slim. Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks also have long tails, but their wings are broad, not pointed. While soaring, the kestrel’s wings look more rounded… See details »

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