Peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus

The peregrine is our biggest falcon; dark slate-grey above and white below with black bars. It has a white throat and cheeks and a strong, black moustache and mask. They suffered from persecution and pesticide poisoning in the early 20th century and populations have only recently recovered. Over the last couple of decades peregrine falcons have been doing very well and in recent years they have found some unusual nest sites: tall city structures which replicate the precipitous cliff edges that they would naturally nest on.


The peregrine falcon feeds primarily on smaller birds such as pigeons or collared doves. They have also been known to hunt small mammals, amphibians and large insects. Peregrine falcons hunt in flight and usually catch their prey mid-air.


  • Length: 40-54cm
  • Wingspan: 1m
  • Weight: 670-1,100g
  • Average Lifespan: 6 years


Common. Listed under CITES Appendix II.



When to see

January – December


  • Peregrines are amongst the fastest animals on the planet, reaching speeds of up to 200 miles per hour when ‘stooping’: diving down on its prey from a great height.

Common name

Peregrine falcon

Species name

Falco peregrinus

IUCN Red List status

Least concern

When to see in Scotland

January – December

Where to see in Scotland

Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves such as Montrose Basin or Ben Mor Coigach.

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